There are many elements that contribute to sustainable, healthy buildings, and energy efficiency is just one of them. This is why we need to look further when designing sustainable buildings. Buildings should also improve comfort, health and wellbeing, as well as reducing environmental impact.
A holistic approach to building is the key to sustainable building, with no one design criteria more important than another. It is quite common for example, for some new builds to reduce the size of windows to increase thermal efficiency. Although financial benefit may be felt from lower energy bills, research suggests that natural light can increase productivity, as well as improve sleep duration and quality, and if innovative insulation materials are used, there is no need to compromise visual quality1. In addition, such materials would also provide added protection to mask unwanted sounds from neighbours, or the outdoors, contributing to improved audio comfort in buildings.
It is clear that we should take a holistic approach to building, and this is why Saint-Gobain has created a whole house building standard that prioritises the health and wellbeing of occupants. MULTICOMFORT building design surpasses existing building regulations, incorporating the energy efficiency and thermal comfort standards set by Passivhaus and introducing new standards in audio, indoor-air and visual comfort to give the building user the ultimate experience of comfort.
A whole house approach is one of the most effective ways to ensure buildings are sustainable, as well as beneficial to occupant health and wellbeing. If we look closely at what makes a building truly comfortable, we can create a happy, healthy environment for the next generation and beyond.
Visit www.multicomfort.co.uk to find out more about the MULTICOMFORT standard.
1 www.technology4change.com, 12th August 2014, Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois