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How buildings impact our health, wellbeing and comfort

  • 28 Apr 2015

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Stacey Temprell, Residential Sector Director at Saint-Gobain,

explains how a holistic approach to building can improve

occupant health and wellbeing.

My Comfort _ the Multi-Comfort building concept

When we typically spend 90% of our time indoors or in vehicles, it’s fair to say that the buildings we live, work or play in every day, have a significant impact on our comfort.

My Comfort _ the Multi-Comfort building concept

Buildings should provide us with a comfortable, healthy habitat in which to be successful, efficient and safe as we set about our daily routines.

Through years of research and development, Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the sustainable habitat and construction markets, has identified five key factors that contribute to our comfort levels indoors; visual comfort, indoor air comfort, audio comfort, economic comfort and thermal comfort.

Combining these factors, Saint-Gobain has created My Comfort _ the Multi-Comfort building concept which delivers benefits for the environment as well as occupant wellbeing.

Delivering comfort for everyone

My Comfort is designed to deliver comfort for everyone _ in any type of building. Reduced energy usage and lower ongoing operational and maintenance costs mean you can actually save money, while enjoying all the additional long-term benefits of a future-proofed, sustainable building that gives you improved comfort, health and wellbeing.

Within a building, various conditions are required to enable people to be comfortable, and to be able to efficiently and effectively perform tasks relevant to the space. The four factors of thermal, audio, visual and indoor air comfort are powerful tools for designing happy, health, energy efficient buildings that deliver considerable economic benefit as well as all-round positive wellbeing effects for occupants.

Holistic approach to user comfort

When designing and constructing buildings, a holistic approach is the best way to guarantee user comfort. The Multi-Comfort concept and ‘My Comfort’ starts from the central premise that all buildings can be designed to:

  • Provide the highest levels of all-round comfort for their users
  • Genuinely and positively contribute to our health and wellbeing
  • Deliver the highest levels of efficiency for their owners _ saving home owners and bill payers money on energy
  • Achieve the Passivhaus standard of energy efficiency

Multi-Comfort is based on Passivhaus design principles, with buildings using very little energy for heating and cooling. Like Passivhaus buildings, Multi-Comfort buildings achieve a 75% reduction in space heating requirements in comparison to current standard practice in new-build homes and provide the same level of thermal comfort.

Effects of improved thermal quality

Improved thermal quality has on increasing comfort and wellbeing

There is overwhelming evidence to support the effects that improved thermal quality has on increasing comfort and wellbeing. For example, exposure to extreme heat is already a health issue. Currently, one-fifth of homes in England could experience overheating even in a cool summer. Flats, which are generally more at risk of overheating than houses, now make up 40% of new dwellings compared to 15% in 1996. Urban green space, which helps to mitigate the urban heat island effect, has declined by 7% since 2001*.

There are many elements of comfort that must be considered to boost occupants’ health and wellbeing. It is true that a little more financial investment in infrastructure is needed than current Building Regulation levels to achieve such effective housing, however investment will provide economic efficiencies for the long term. By providing buildings with the lowest primary energy demand, running costs can be greatly reduced, such as heating and water bills, alongside lower maintenance costs for the owner.

At Saint-Gobain, we believe that sustainable habitat is within our reach, and by providing sustainable products and solutions, this vision can be made a reality.

*Source: Managing climate risks to well-being and the economy, Adaptation Sub-Committee, Progress Report 2014.

Read more about the Multi-Comfort building concept

To find our more about Saint-Gobain, visit the website via the link below.

Visit Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland's website

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland
Saint-Gobain House
Binley Business Park
Binley
Coventry
CV3 2TT
United Kingdom

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