Survey on Air conditioning in Shopping Malls 2016

Results: Survey on Air conditioning in Shopping Malls 2016

A survey about indoor temperature (air conditioning) was conducted over 10 shopping malls. A total of 486 customers’ feedback on air-conditioning in those malls was also collected via questionnaires. The results revealed 9 out of 10 malls being measured do not conform to the temperature range stated in “Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature”. By comparing to the results of the questionnaires, it is also suggested that customers may not necessarily feel more comfortable in lower temperatures. It is the time for the shopping mall management to drop the idea “colder the better” and take customers’ actual feeling with environmental consideration into their temperature management plan.

Green Sense is a local green group focusing on urban environmental and planning issues. We have investigated and reported about air-con abuse situations in public transport and public space, in order to promote energy saving and ultimately reduce carbon emissions in Hong Kong. Green Sense had previously conducted a shopping mall air con survey in 2008.

Coincides with the upcoming “No Air-Con Night 2016” event, air-con survey of shopping malls were conducted in the last two months. The survey consists of two parts: 1) a standardized measurement of average indoor temperature of 10 shopping malls and 2) 486 questionnaires were collected by to reflect customers’ actual thermal feelings of indoor temperature in those malls.

This survey integrated “objective” temperature data and “subjective” felling of customers which is useful to explain why the malls should improve, and provide a better and reasonable framework for indoor temperature management.


Electricity generation is accounted for about 68% of Hong Kong’s total carbon emissions. If we are really eager to slow down climate change by reducing carbon emissions, cutting down electricity usage is of utmost importance. As air conditioning is the biggest electricity consumer in buildings, Green Sense believes that the problem of air con abuse is worth exploring.

In 2012, Environment Bureau introduced “Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature” which aimed to encourage buildings, organizations and companies to pledge “to maintain an average indoor temperature of between 24 – 26°C in the summer months from June to September”.


Phase One: About 30 shopping malls were sampled randomly for preliminary indoor temperature measurement in July 2016. It was then narrowed down to 10 shopping malls based on the result of preliminary measurement, previous survey results, whether the mall had joined the Charter and their establish time.

Phase Tw0: The 10 malls were subjected to detail temperature measurement in accordance with the measurement guideline set out by the Environment Bureau. Questionnaire interview was also conducted for each selected mall.


Part I. The “Objective” Part – Indoor Temperature Data

  1. The overall situation is slightly improved when compared to the survey result in 2008. However, the average temperature of 10 malls was measured at only 22.8℃, which 9 out of 10 malls were measured with average temperature lower than 24℃ as stated in the charter (24-26℃).
  2. The lowest average indoor temperature (21.7℃) was recorded at Lions Rise Mall; whereas the lowest measured single spot temperature (19.8℃) was recorded at YOHO mall.
  3. A significant difference between outdoor temperature and indoor temperature could build up (maximum difference measured: 11.8℃) which may bring discomfort to and affect health of customers.

Part II. The “Subjective” Part – Questionnaire

There were total 486 valid questionnaires. Respondents were the customers leaving the 10 selected shopping malls. The questionnaires contained 10 questions about feedback of indoor temperature of the mall.

Q1. What do you feel in this mall? (Rate: -3 “too cold” to 0 “comfortable” to 3 “too hot”)

59% of respondents thought it was comfortable. Although there is not serious complaint about the temperature, the weight average -0.5 reflects a general remark of “too cold” in the shopping malls.

Q2. How satisfied are you with the indoor temperature of this mall? (Rate: 1 “very dissatisfied” to 5 “very satisfied”)

The respondents are generally satisfied with the indoor temperature. However, a specific relationship cannot be concluded between customer satisfaction and the respective mall indoor temperature.

For the mall recorded with the highest average temperature (The Landmark at 24.1oC) and the coldest (Lion Rise Mall at 21.7oC), both malls were also said to be acceptable (average rating 3.39 and 3.36 respectively). It suggests the tolerance of indoor temperature of customers is ranged, and there should be other factors other than temperature which have effect on customers’ satisfaction.

Q3. Which indoor temperature do you feel the most comfortable?

24oC received highest number of votes. 24oC and 25oC were the first two prior choices which accounted for more than half of (57%) respondents.

Considering (Q2) the customers well accept 24oC as comfortable temperature and (Q3) the respondents also perceive 24oC-25oC as the most comfortable indoor temperature, and further taking importance of environmental concerns in account, Green Sense believes that it is reasonable to request shopping malls keeping their indoor temperature between (24oC-26oC) as stated by the Charter.

Q4. Does indoor temperature affect your will of shopping? (Rate: 0 “no effect” to 4 “severe effect”)

73% of respondents said indoor temperature does affect their will of shopping. The result suggests an economic incentive for the shopping malls to adjusting the indoor temperature within customer “comfortable zone”.

Q5. If you feel “too cold” in a mall, what will you do?

About one-third of respondents would leave the mall immediately, which is related to the business of the shopping malls.

Apart from it, only 17% of customers would inform the customer service/ mall staff for the over cold temperature, which could be a result of the thinking “it is not effective by only individual complaints/ the customer service is not going to reflect my view”.

Q6. Compared with the summer 5 years ago, how do you feel about this summer? (Rate: colder to hotter)

Most of the respondents agree this summer is hotter than that of 5 years ago.

Q7. Do you know what ‘Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature’ is?

61% did not know about it.

Q8. Do you know what “thermal comfort” is?

61% did not know about it.

Q9&10. Respondents’ gender and age.


In recent years, global climate change has become more severe. Extreme weather occurs more frequently and Hong Kong will inevitably subject to its effect. We aim to remind the public and community to take prompt action in order to face the challenges arose from climate change.

The survey results indicated some malls still wastes much power by unnecessarily keeping their indoor temperature as low as 21oC, much lower that the 24oC-26oC temperature range suggested by the Charter. From the feedback from customers it is also suggested that temperature is not the sole factor of making people comfortable. Since people feel and perceive 24℃-25℃ is the most comfortable temperature range, shopping malls should raising their indoor temperature to such range so as to comfort their customers and save energy at the same.

Green Sense urges properties management companies to prevent abusing air-con and drop the believe “colder the better”. A wise temperature management can relief strain on environment, improve customer satisfaction and bring economic benefits.


Temperature is merely one of the several factors affecting how the customer really feels (“Thermal comfort”). Instead of lowering the indoor temperature (which is the most energy and money consuming way) to comfort the customers, it would be more wise to work on other thermal comfort factors such as ventilation and humidity. Closer collaboration between property managements, academic field and green groups are urged to provide stronger support for environmental friendly indoor temperature control schemes.


  • Contacting the management companies to discuss what should be done to comply with the Charter.
  • Urging Environment Bureau to strengthen the promotion and supervision of the Charter.
  • Enhancing the education about wise air-con using.
  • Continuing to study how thermal comfort to be fully considering in controlling indoor temperature and hence to reduce power consumption.
  • Civil – Commercial Cooperation: Long-term monitoring of the public feeling about the indoor temperature (e.g. questionnaire / mobile app); an incentive monitoring program on indoor temperature.