Comfort and Health

Performance and Well-Being through Comfort

People in industrialized nations spend up to 90 percent of their lives indoors. These indoor spaces have to meet certain requirements for climate and comfort in order for the occupants to remain healthy and productive on a long-term basis. The Building Innovation Alliance business unit "Comfort and Health" investigates relevant room factors in order to develop the necessary solutions. Here the objective is to achieve optimal comfort in buildings with minimum consumption of energy and resources.

The Human Impact of the Room
When a person is in a room, he or she is subjected to various physical factors such as temperature and the humidity and circulation of ambient air. In addition to these comfort factors, acoustics and illumination also influence the performance capabilities and health of the occupant, who is also impacted by emissions from wood preservation agents, wall paint and flooring - another important research topic of the Building Innovation Alliance.

The Human's Effect on the Room
Not only does the room have an effect on the human occupant, the occupant also impacts the room: Activity, number of occupants and outdoor climate all have an effect on the physical-chemical influence factors of the environment. Thus for example the oxygen level in the air sinks over the course of the day due to respiration, in turn affecting the ability of the occupant to concentrate.

Research for Practice
In test structures the research institutes of the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance investigate the indoor climate conditions in school classrooms and open plan offices for the effect of various facade systems. Research also includes climate simulation and monitoring occupant behavior in buildings. Here the acceptance of new air conditioning technologies is investigated, together with the use of renewable energies.

Creating a Pleasant Climate
Since the outdoor climate has a significant effect on the indoor climate, a holistic planning approach always has to be followed, whether in the development of new construction or when renovating existing buildings. The institutes of the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance work out strategies for controlling the indoor climate depending on the outdoor climate, the function and form of the building, the site and the building design. Once these factors have been determined, the use of passive solar energy, passive cooling and natural ventilation can be put into feasible use as can intelligent shade systems and modified building insulation.

Projects

 

Comfort and Health − Performance and Well-Being through Comfort

Attentive windows

Noise-controlled window ventilation

 

EU research project ECO-SEE

The project aims at creating a healthier indoor climate by using innovative and sustainable building materials, while saving 20 to 30 percent of the costs by making use of multifunctional products and their intelligent application in new constructions and in building retrofitting.

 

Comfort and Health − Performance and Well-Being through Comfort

Chilled water wall for cooling and dehumidification of indoor spaces

An innovative type of air conditioning system was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP.