Practices

HOPE: Health Optimisation Protocol for Energy-efficient Buildings Pre-normative and socio-economic research to create healthy and energy efficient buildings

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HOPE was a collaborative European project, which aimed to demonstrate that energy efficient buildings can be both healthy and comfortable for their occupants. Buildings (both domestic and non-domestic) in EU are responsible for approximately 40% of the primary energy use. This makes buildings the largest 'energy-using-sector' in the Union. From the energy point of view, one can reduce consumption: by using building products that are sustainable (e.g. have little embodied energy), by designing and constructing buildings that use as little energy as possible. From the perspective of the occupant of a building, the ideal situation is an indoor environment that satisfies all occupants (i.e. they have no complaints) and does not unnecessarily increase the risk or severity of illness or injury. It becomes clear that there may be a potential conflict between strategies to reduce energy use and to create healthy buildings. The final goal of the project is to provide the means to increase the number of energy efficient buildings that are at the same time healthy, thus decreasing the energy use by buildings and consequently resulting in a reduction of CO2 emission from primary energy used for ventilation.

Buildings (both domestic and non-domestic) in EU are responsible for approximately 40% of the primary energy use. This makes buildings the largest 'energy-using-sector' in the Union. From the energy point of view, one can reduce consumption: by using building products that are sustainable (e.g. have little embodied energy), by designing and constructing buildings that use as little energy as possible with respect to heating, cooling, ventilation, etc. and by maintaining and operating buildings without wasting energy.

From the perspective of the occupant of a building, the ideal situation is an indoor environment that satisfies all occupants (i.e. they have no complaints) and does not unnecessarily increase the risk or severity of illness or injury. According to the European Directive 89/106/EWG "Construction work must be designed and built in such a way that it will not be a threat to the hygiene or health of the occupants or neighbours". According to the WHO "Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". An unhealthy indoor environment will lead to a decrease in productivity of employees and will lead to an increase in sick leave. The problem we are confronted with now is that the health situation of occupants is far from the ideal situation. One can create a healthier indoor environment by source control (i.e. reducing the emissions of indoor pollution sources), by ventilation (removing or diluting pollutants i.e. reducing the exposure to pollution sources) and by maintaining comfortable physical conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity and light).

It becomes clear that there may be a potential conflict between strategies to reduce energy use and to create healthy buildings. For example, a particular material/product might have a low embodied energy but cause unhealthy emissions, or the ventilation rate may be reduced to save energy but the level of pollutant concentrations may increase above a certain threshold and increase exposure. While there is a strong logic to improving energy performance by attention to healthy indoor environments, more needs to be done to realise the potential. Action needs to be directed at both improving guidance on how to realise the potential, and making a convincing case for the building industry to make changes. This project contributes to both, by providing guidance that is technically sound, while being linked with easily understood examples of good design.

To be able to reach the commitment by the European Commission in the context of the Kyoto agreement of 8% reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases emission by the year 2008-2012, it is certainly important to tackle all opportunities of rational use of energy in buildings. The underlying proposal brings the additional advantage of promoting "healthy" indoor environments, which is where most European people spend more than 90% of their lives.

The final goal of the project is to provide the means to increase the number of energy efficient buildings that are at the same time healthy, thus decreasing the energy use by buildings and consequently resulting in a reduction of CO2 emission from primary energy used for ventilation.

Acronym of the case

HOPE

Author(s) information

Name

Henrik N. Knudsen,

Address

Energy and Environment, Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University, Dr. Neergaards Vej 15, DK-2970 Horsholm, www.sbi.dk Direct phone: +45 9940 2394

Email

Lessons learnt

The questions to which answers have been sought within the framework of the HOPE project were: - What is a healthy building and what is an energy-efficient building? - What is an energy-efficient healthy building? - Are buildings with energy saving measures energy-efficient? And what is the health status of buildings with energy saving measures as compared to buildings without energy saving measures? - How can we assure that buildings are healthy and energy-efficient at the same time? - Healthy and comfortable buildings do not necessarily require much energy, and can have a limited impact on the environment. Smart managers, architects and engineers construct and operate buildings in a way that both good indoor environment and low energy consumption can be achieved. Good design is essential to achieve these objectives. By contrast, expensive measures to improve the indoor environment are sometimes counterproductive: even when technical requirements (temperature, air flow rates, etc.) are met, occupants do not feel well. For more details on Performance Criteria, the Multidisciplinary field study in 164 buildings and Protocol for building Evaluation, see: http://hope.epfl.ch/results/results-intro.htm

Award labels

Available link languages

Topic

Start date - End date

Tuesday, 1 January, 2002 to Saturday, 1 January, 2005

Operational date

Saturday, 1 January, 2005

Comment

Guidelines, see http://hope.epfl.ch/guidelines/guidelines-intro.htm printed version: http://hope.epfl.ch/guidelines/HOPEGuidelines7.pdf In this section some small extracts from the guidelines published in the Hope project are shown. The salient features of high quality buildings include indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal comfort, visual and acoustic characteristics, as well as low impact on the environment. Within the HOPE research project, the following definition has been adopted: A healthy and energy-efficient building does not cause or aggravate illnesses in the building occupants, assures a high level of comfort to the building's occupants in the performance of the designated activities for which the building has been intended and designed, and minimises the use of non-renewable energy, taking into account available technology including life cycle energy costs. According to the Rio agreement, sustainable buildings should take account of environmental, economical, and social stakes. This includes, among others, low energy use, good indoor environment quality (IEQ) and health. The three stakes have a similar importance: a building cannot be good if it fails in one of them. Healthy, comfortable and energy efficient buildings are the result of a conscious design keeping constantly these three objectives in mind. It is not by chance that most of the 16 apartment buildings and 7 office buildings fulfilling at best the HOPE criteria for these objectives were designed that way. Some of these buildings are shown as examples to illustrate the guidelines. Basic recommendation that could be given to reach these objectives are: Prefer passive methods to active ones wherever possible Think about the user comfort, needs and behaviour Adapt the building to its environment

References

Chrit Cox et al., 2005, Health Optimisation Protocol for Energy-efficient Buildings, Final Report
Bluyssen, P.M. and Loomans, M.G.L.C., 2003, A framework for performance criteria of healthy and energy-efficient buildings, Healthy Buildings 2003, Singapore.
Bluyssen, P.M. et al.., 2003, European Project HOPE (health optimization protocol for energy efficient buildings), Healthy Buildings 2003, Singapore.
Maroni M. et al., 2003, Performance criteria for healthy buildings, Healthy Buildings 2003, Singapore.
Roulet, C.-A., Johner, N., Flourentzous, F., Greuter, G., 2003, Multi-criteria Analysis Methodology of Health, IEQ and Energy Use for Sustainable Buildings, CISBAT, October 8-9, 2003, Lausanne, Switzerland. Healthy Buildings 2003, Singapore.
Roulet, C.-A., Johner, N., Oostra, B., Foradini, F., 2005, Multi-criteria analysis of health, comfort and energy-efficiency of buildings, Indoor Air 2005
Roulet, C.-A., Johner, N., Oostra, B., Foradini, F., 2005, Buildings, indoor environment, multicriteria analysis, energy, Indoor Air 2005
C. Aizlewood, C. Dimitroulopoulou. The HOPE Project: The UK Experience. Indoor and Built Environment 2006;15;:393-409.

Source of funding

EC

Funding description

The European Commission supported the HOPE programme, under the contract ENK6-CT-2001-00505.

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