I’m conducting an independent study as a concerned citizen on the indoor temperature at an animal shelter to support the need of improved air conditioning by documenting how hot it can reach during summer that would exceed veterinary standards. I’ve bought an electronic hygrometer and have also obtained the building floor plans.

My current data collection process would be the following:

  • conduct measurements during a high temperature, high humidity, and low cloud cover day.
    • best mimics the extreme conditions that the animals would be exposed to.
    • record the date/time and measure or record current outdoor conditions:
      • temp (shade and direct sun), relative humidity, cloud cover, wind speed.
    • record the current facility’s AC temperature setting.
  • take relative humidity (RH) and temperature measurements throughout the facility at 5ft spacing. (Please advise if my distance is too large or too small)
  • gently wave hygrometer from side to side for approximately 15 seconds to adjust sensors to current position’s environment.
  • take all indoor measurements from a 1ft height (approximate mid-height of a dog) using a pole.
  • take measurements from one end of the facility and walk forwards/sideways in a grid pattern to prevent my body heat and humidity from influencing the reading, and also to limit air circulation from my movements.
  • wear latex gloves so hand sweat does not increase the RH value.
  • take measurements within each animal enclosure as there will be additional humidity from water bowls, urine, etc.
    • this would be done after the main isles are measured to reduce air movement from opening and closing the enclosures from influencing the aisle measurements.
  • mark each measurement point on the floor plan and log the data in a spreadsheet.

My data analysis will consist of the following:

  • floor plan heat map overlays for the following:
    • air temperature
    • relative humidity
    • heat index (HI)
  • calculate the following values:
    • animal enclosures
      • average/min/max temperature
      • average/min/max RH
      • average/min/max HI
    • shelter facility
      • average/min/max temperature
      • average/min/max RH
      • average/min/max HI

Am I missing anything that could potentially invalidate my results and result in inaccurate measurements, or am I lacking any specific data which I should be collecting or calculating? I want this to be as accurate as possible and provide credible evidence that current conditions are not within veterinary standards.

I had asked if this type of question was on-topic here, but overall if it is not please do not close it. Just leave a comment and I'll delete it so as not to ding me negatively in the system. Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ In order to know if you are 'lacking any specific data which I should be collecting' it might be helpful if you can provide a link to the 'veterinary standards' you are trying to compare your data to, as well as actual city, county or state codes the facility is required to adhere to. Some rules may refer to a duration of exposure, for instance, which means you may need data covering a longer period of time. $\endgroup$
    – justCal
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @user2448131http://oacu.od.nih.gov/disaster/ShelterGuide.pdf pg15 talks about the temp/humidity ranges, which I believe are for 24/7 use. It's not specific to a location as the range values are what should be used in any shelter in general. The location is in Florida (USA), so it gets really hot and humid if that helps. The shelter is following this document, but they clearly are not meeting the temp/humidity requirements as even a basic measurement shows both values are past the threshold. $\endgroup$
    – kittycat
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Looking at the source you provided in the comment, there is some other information you may be able to accumulate to help your study.

  1. Control or Baseline. You need an the same actual set of data from a facility in the area that is meeting the above-mentioned standards. This needs to be as close to your target facility in size, structure and regional conditions as you can find so you can demonstrate that under the same Temperature and Humidity proper conditions can be maintained.

  2. More Data. You haven't mentioned Time in your question. Most building temperature studies show conditions throughout the day. The duration that the animals are exposed to extreme conditions may be relevant. There are data-logging thermometer type devices available , or you may need to perform your tests once an hour during the day to collect enough relevant data to make your case.

  3. More Data. You talk of taking measurements on an extreme day. Gather data on a variety of days, and you may find the care standards are exceeded more (or less) often then you expect. This way you may find the lower limit of conditions which cause problems. Which brings us to...

  4. More Data. Once you have a measured example of the problem temperature and humidity reading, for a given day, you can collect data from local weather sources and you can present a graphic showing the number of days, or perhaps hours per year the animals are exposed to these conditions.

You mention Heat Index. According to NOAA, Heat Index

is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature...

You might have to prove the relevance of this data to animals which do not react the same way to humidity. If you can find an external source supporting your use of that index, then by all means continue to use it. You may even be able to find a study showing that the animals feel the effects of humidity more then humans do. Look for, more data. The link above mentions a possible place to begin.

Personally I believe the main argument you will face would be the amount of time the proper conditions are exceeded. Like the people who leave the dog in the car, 'but it was just for a minute...'.

Good luck, no matter what results you find.


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