Perceived health and comfort in relation to energy use and building characteristics
Within the European research project Health Optimisation Protocol for Energy-efficient Building (HOPE), 96 apartment buildings and 64 office buildings (of which approximately 75% have been designed to be energy-efficient) were investigated. The building characteristics were assessed according to a checklist during a walk-through survey. Occupant questionnaires were used to determine satisfaction about comfort (thermal visual, acoustical and indoor air quality (IAQ)) and their health (Sick Building Syndrome and allergies). Building-averaged collected data are compared, looking for correlations between building characteristics on one hand, and perceived comfort and health on the other hand. Strong correlations are found between perceived IAQ, thermal, acoustic and lighting comfort, confirming results from other studies. Significant correlations between the perceived comfort and building related symptoms were also found, comfortable and healthier buildings being well distinct from uncomfortable ones. Differences of perceived comfort or health between low- and high-energy buildings show that it is possible to design buildings that are healthy, comfortable and energy efficient.