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Health, Well-being and Energy Consumption in Buildings

The present proposal addresses the combined challenges related to health, well-being and energy consumption in new and existing buildings. The aim is to improve indoor environment and to reduce energy consumption in existing and future buildings

Indsendt af

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet


The present proposal addresses the combined challenges related to health, well-being and energy consumption in new and existing buildings. The aim is to improve indoor environment and to reduce energy consumption in existing and future buildings by development of novel and advanced technologies, systems and solutions that will improve occupants’ health, well-being and performance at reduced energy consumption.

The effort will result in inventions and innovations as well as production and export of new technological solution, systems, components as well as know-how. Denmark is strongly positioned to lead such an effort and the created shared value for the people, the society, the industry and the economy will be huge.

Udfordring og muligheder

In developed countries people spend more than 90% of the time indoors. Indoor environment affects their health, comfort, performance and creativity.

Unfortunately today’s indoor environment in many buildings (office buildings, homes, hospitals, etc.) is not of high quality. A substantial part (up to 41%) of the national energy use is consumed in buildings. There are plans in many countries, including Denmark, for significant reduction of the energy consumption. Nationally, the goal is to achieve a reduction in energy consumption of 12% by 2020 compared to 2006. The rate of replacement of the existing building mass in Denmark is in the order of 1%, thus a major emphasis has to be placed also on renovation of the existing building mass.

Potentially the solution to the problem of excess energy consumption in buildings represents a threat to the already poor indoor climate in buildings. However, recent research shows that integrated, innovative solutions that provide improved indoor environment at reduced energy consumption can be developed. Thus the idea is to  develop win/win solutions that address the requirement to reduce energy consumption, make use of the political and economical drivers associated with these requirements and goals and at the same time improve people’s health and wellbeing (huge societal savings) and performance (competitiveness of industry).

This innovative effort is key to solve the major societal challenges related to health, well-being and energy consumption in buildings and at the same time creates know-how and sparks development and manufacturing of new products and systems for the national and international markets.


The objective is to develop new generation of integrated technologies, systems and indoor environment solutions not used today in buildings that, during the next 10 years, will replace completely the present practice. Such technologies and systems will be implemented in the physical and architectural design of new buildings as well as in existing buildings as an integrated part of (energy) renovation projects.

Development and implementation is foreseen of ductless ventilation, individually controlled micro-environments, efficient indoor air cleaning and total heat recovery for ventilation, use of renewable and no emission energy and materials, combined hydronic and air systems for transport of heating – just to mention a few. The effort will bring about numerous inventions, innovations and novel products and establish new performance criteria for new and renovated indoor spaces.

The effort shall be undertaken in close collaboration with other initiatives in the sector dealing with other aspects of building technology – e.g. new green materials and smart grids to allow for a completely integrated approach to the issue of health and energy consumption in buildings. The technologies, products, systems and associated know-how will have huge commercial potential both in high growth countries where indoor climate and energy consumption in new buildings is a major concern (e.g. China, India) and in the old world where energy renovation of the existing building mass is of a major concern.


The effort of changing the present practice by introducing novel indoor environmental methods, systems, measuring devices and monitoring systems that will be able to respond to the needs of occupants with different body temperature, activity, etc. will require collaboration between engineers, architects, medical doctors, ergonomists, physiologists, etc. Strong partnership between researchers from universities and industry (including producers of components, consulting engineers, architects and contractors) will be needed to take the generated ideas to prototypes to be tested and optimized and made ready for mass production.

The effort will establish completely new approach in indoor environmental design, new practices for design of the building envelope and use of materials, new challenges in assessment and characterization of functionality and performance of buildings under renovation and will require development of new standards – and thus require close collaboration with the regulatory bodies in public sector. The needs for innovation comprise the whole spectrum from application of novel technological solutions, new collaborative, commercial and managerial efforts in the building sector and change in regulatory basis for the building setor.

De danske forudsætninger

The Department of Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark is one of the world leaders in the field of build environment and indoor climate. Several of the best world experts perform research at the Department. The Department possesses unique and sophisticated facilities and measuring equipment. Its ability to address the challenge of innovative development in the building sector has been demonstrated e.g. though its performance in Solar Decathlon Europe, 2012, involving key players such as Grundfos, Rockwool, Uponor, Schneider Electric, and a range of other producers and consultants.

Active collaboration with the Danish innovative industry and international industrial partners has been taking place for many years and an active network exists between several strong research units – nationally and internationally. The present effort will involve industries related to building envelope, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, furniture industry and the textile industry.

Effekter og potentialer

Considering the global efforts to establish healthy societies and living environments on a sustainable basis, the commercial potential of the effort is huge. At present Denmark is world leader in green technology related to buildings. The proposed effort will strengthen this position and will result in enormous saving for the society. The effort will also be a key element to further reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions from buildings. The effort will initiate development and production of new systems and products for the local and international market.

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Senest opdateret 12. marts 2013