A review of comfort, health, and energy use: Understanding daily energy use and wellbeing for the development of a new approach to study comfort

Marco Ortiz Sanchez, Stanley R. Kurvers, P.M. Bluyssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is a need for reducing dwellings’ energy consumption while maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. This review was performed to provide a steppingstone for identifying new methods for studying everyday home energy use and comfort. First, an overview of comfort is given as seen from different disciplines, depicting the subjective and multidimensional nature of comfort. This is followed by the biological component of comfort, reflected as an emotional, behavioural, and physiological reaction to environmental stimuli. Subsequently, links between comfort, health, and wellbeing are introduced. The second part of the review focuses on energy and buildings, with the connection between energy and behaviours-detailing possible explanations of performance gaps, and the pathways from energy to health. To conclude, human sensation of comfort is more complex than the perception of thermal, acoustical, visual stimuli, or air quality environment. Comfort is a reaction to the environment that is strongly influenced by cognitive and behavioural processes. Habits and controllability have been identified as paramount in the links between comfort and energy consumption. In this holistic view of comfort linked to health, comfort is referred to as ‘wellbeing’. The first steps for new directions of the study of comfort and energy are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-335
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume152
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Comfort behaviours
  • Controllability
  • Design thinking
  • Energy consumption
  • Habits
  • Health

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