Stacey Temprell, Residential Sector Director at Saint-Gobain,
explains how a holistic approach to building can improve
occupant health and wellbeing.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
To find our more about Saint-Gobain, visit the website via the link below.
Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland
Binley Business Park
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