Clustering of Dutch school children based on their preferences and needs of the IEQ in classrooms

More Info


Background: It is well-known that indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in classrooms can have an effect on school children's comfort, health and performance. Unfortunately, information about the school children's perception of IEQ factors in their classrooms is still insufficient. The objective of this study was to better understand school children's IEQ preferences and needs in classrooms. Methods: Perceptions, preferences, and needs regarding the IEQ in classrooms were collected by a questionnaire from 1145 school children (9–12 years) in 21 primary schools (54 classrooms) in the Netherlands. Descriptive analysis, correlation analysis, principal component analysis and two-step cluster analysis were used to analyse the data. Results: Using two-step cluster analysis, this study identified six clusters (profiles) of children based on their comfort perceptions and the importance of environmental factors. Among them, four clusters of children had specific concerns related to the IEQ factors: the ‘Sound concerned cluster’ the ‘Smell and Sound concerned cluster’ the ‘Thermal and Draught concerned cluster’ and the ‘Light concerned cluster’. However, the other two clusters of children did not show a specific concern, the ‘All concerned cluster’ was concerned about all IEQ factors in the classroom, while the ‘Nothing concerned cluster’ did not show any concern. Conclusion: This study allows for a better understanding of the preferences and needs of primary school children from their own perspective and provides a foundation for future studies to improve both the IEQ in classrooms and school children's comfort and health.