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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/23739

Title: A case for comfort: integrating energy efficiency and universal design in home renovation
Authors: Kapedani, Ermal
Herssens, Jasmien
Verbeeck, Griet
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: 1st International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science 2017, Sitges, Spain, 02-05/04/2017
Abstract: Energy Efficiency (EE) and Universal Design (UD) are high on governmental policy and research agendas. However EE and UD are mainly considered separately both in research and practice and have reached only limited adoption in society. In essence, based on literature review, we can observe that the goals of governments and policymakers in regards to home renovations, i.e. increasing EE and UD adoption to solve certain societal challenges, are misaligned with those of people, who aim to increase their comfort. Thus, we hypothesize that comfort can be a unifying framework that can represent both EE and UD features, and therefore is able to contain the aspirations of inhabitants as well as policy makers. In this sense comfort must broaden its definition from the often used thermal comfort in EE research and the biomechanics focus in UD. In order to understand the broader meaning of comfort from the perspective of inhabitants in the context of home renovations, and to test our hypothesis, we conducted 3 qualitative studies with different groups: a workshop, interviews, and a small survey. The studies, in different formats, elicited the participants' meaning of comfort at home in their own words. They confirm that people associate with comfort all aspects related to EE such as temperature, air quality, light and noise, as well as with most aspects central to UD such as usability, accessibility, views to outdoors etc.. In addition they revealed the insight that EE and UD aspects are not separate and unrelated but rather that EE, if considered from a comfort point of view, can be seen as a part of UD. These are presented in a new framework for Comfort that can be used to further study the merging of the EE and UD fields to achieve higher adoption rates for both.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/23739
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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