What is the Best Temperature for a Learning Environment

Let’s start with what is optimal room temperature?

Optimal temperature is basically when you don’t notice the temperature, so you aren’t too hot or too cold when dressed in normal indoor clothing.

The average body temperature for a human is 37ºC  and our brains work hard to make sure our bodies maintain this temperature. To do this, our brain makes our body burn glucose to warm up or ventilate and sweat to cool down.

So depending on whether its summer or winter, uncomfortable temperatures will cause a distraction to learners.

Temperature impacts student’s learning ability and also affects numerous other mental and physical activities.

When temperatures are not ideal, the brain gets constant interruptions from the body signaling it to readjust to the temperature, making it hard to focus on the learning task at hand.

A report published by the Association for Learning Environments shows how scores were affected by varying temperatures.

This is what the results revealed:

  • At 16.1ºC students averaged a score of 76%
  • At 22.22ºC students averaged a score of 90%
  • At 27.22ºC students averaged a score of 72%

Results are clear that comfortable and constant temperature produces better focus and learning. 

NZ Education Website Recommends:

Even though thermal comfort varies from day to day due to factors such as air movement, radiant temperatures, humidity and the prevailing external conditions, the comfort expectations of staff and students will adapt accordingly to this experience of external temperature.

Indoor air temperatures for occupied learning spaces are expected to be between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius for most of the year. However, this may not always be possible because elevated temperatures may persist for a few hours a day during warmer weather.

We suggest that during periods of warmer weather (e.g. summer), schools do the following to help manage the internal temperature of classrooms without air conditioners:

  • open windows and doors to allow cross ventilation
  • switch on ceiling fans or mobile fans where available to increase air movement and evaporative cooling
  • pull blinds on windows to block out the sun
  • ensure access to drinking water to make sure staff and students are hydrated
  • encourage staff and students to wear lighter clothing
  • utilise shaded outdoor areas and
  • reduce the use of devices that create heat.

Daikin Air Conditioning offer 95 years as specialists in heating and cooling.  We recommend best practice in summer for rooms with air conditioning:

  • choose the optimal temperature within the range and stick to it. 
  • Try to cool the room before it is occupied
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible in order to maintain the temperature
  • Use blinds and curtains when necessary to prevent the sun from heating spaces you are trying to cool.


One report published by the Association for Learning Environments is relevant to this request, as follows:
Perez, J., Montano, J., & Perez, J. (2014). Does temperature impact student performance? Room temperature and its impact on student test scores. Scottsdale, AZ: Association for Learning Environments. Retrieved healthyschools.cefpi.org/temperature.html
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