Office building design in the Netherlands: Air conditioning and sealed windows, unavoidable or not?

Atze C. Boerstra*, Stanley R. Kurvers, Joe L. Leyten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review


Building-related symptoms occur more often in office buildings with air conditioning and sealed windows. Avoiding construction of such buildings, therefore, seems advisable. Nevertheless, many new Dutch buildings are air conditioned and sealed. This study consists of the arguments that have been made for continuing to build air-conditioned and sealed buildings and a validity test of those arguments. Some arguments (e.g., outside noise, wind) rightly support the need for mechanical air supply in certain situations. But even then, operable windows with smart design have proved themselves to be applicable and effective. Some arguments in favor of air conditioning and sealed windows appeared to be invalid (e.g., preventing dry air). High heat loads seemed to be the most sound argument in favor of air conditioning. However, a calculation showed that, given the Dutch climate, high indoor temperatures can be avoided without cooling when certain design criteria concerning building characteristics are met. Despite common beliefs, it is quite possible to avoid sealed windows and air conditioning in Dutch office buildings. Note that several factors analyzed in this study are based on the climatic conditions of the Netherlands and may not be valid in other climates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalIAQ Conference
Publication statusPublished - 1997
EventConference on Design, Construction, and Operation of Healthy Buildings: Solutions to Global and Regional Concerns, IAQ 1997 - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: 1 Sep 20071 Sep 2007

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