Striking a balance between energy efficiency and indoor air quality
If there is one thing building and construction stakeholders have learned from the likes of the Asbestos crisis, it’s that the benefits of specific building materials and technologies should always be put in balance with their impact on human health. It therefore comes as no surprise that this question is high on the agenda of researchers and decision markers looking into energy efficient solutions. Besides, various research efforts have shown that EU citizens, who generally spend 60 to 90 % of their life in buildings, are increasingly wary of air quality issues. This also means that market success can only be achieved by maintaining a subtle balance between insulation and indoor air quality (IAQ). In 1996 the European Collaborative Action on ‘Indoor air quality and its impact on man’ already pointed at the potential conflicts between increasing air exchange rates and saving energy. It notably stressed that, in addition to using suitable materials and technologies, stakeholders should focus on developing control, maintenance and management procedures and tools. This CORDIS Results Pack takes a look at recent, EU-funded technological developments that are already or will soon be helping the value chain to achieve both of the above-mentioned objectives. It covers materials – with breakthroughs in nanotechnology or fibres that enable the production of more efficient building parts – but also smart monitoring solutions which see sensors providing tenants or owners with real time information on the molecules present in the air they breathe.