Managing thermal comfort in classrooms

Advice on managing classroom thermal temperature levels for schools, teachers, and general staff.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Proprietors
  • General Staff/Administrators
  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Health and Safety Officer(s)

Under section 30 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, the PCBU (Board, Proprietor and Principal) are required to manage the risks to health and safety of their schools. If they cannot be eliminated, the risk must be minimized so far as reasonably practicable. Classrooms that are too hot, or lacking in air circulation pose potential health risks to students, staff and potential visitors and must be managed appropriately. We recommend that all staff have some knowledge of ways to reduce heat in school classrooms in order to take proactive action.


We all want students to enjoy comfortable and healthy learning environments.

Thermal comfort varies from day to day due to factors such as air movement, radiant temperatures, humidity and the prevailing external conditions. Hence, 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:

  • 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.

Boards are responsible for the health and safety of students and staff on school grounds. If parents have any concerns about the environment that their child is learning in, we encourage them to contact the school in the first instance.

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