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Briefing – How to integrate indoor environmental quality within national long-term renovation strategies

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has a direct effect on our health, comfort, wellbeing and productivity. It is therefore an important parameter to include in long-term renovation strategies. The major determinants of IEQ are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, daylight and acoustic comfort and they all play an important role in ensuring the quality of life and general wellbeing of building occupants.

About 2.2 million Europeans have asthma because of their living conditions and 110 million live in buildings with high concentrations of hazardous pollutants due to inadequate levels of ventilation. Increasing indoor comfort and air quality can reduce illnesses and premature deaths associated with living in cold and damp homes. This in turn reduces pressure on healthcare and social services, with related benefits including fewer days of work missed, shorter hospital stays and improved educational performance.

Since we spend about 90% of our time indoors, it is crucial to ensure suitable levels of IEQ to promote healthy and comfortable indoor environments. Building legislation, and in particular the upcoming long-term renovation strategies (required in the amended EPBD), is a starting point.

BPIE demonstrates in this briefing how the EPBD can be an opportunity to ensure healthy comfortable indoor environments are integrated into national long-term renovation strategies.

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has a direct effect on our health, comfort, wellbeing and productivity. It is therefore an important parameter to include in long-term renovation strategies. The major determinants of IEQ are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, daylight and acoustic comfort and they all play an important role in ensuring the quality of life and general wellbeing of building occupants.

The EU’s main legislation in this area, the amended Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD, 2018/844), mentions that energy performance requirements defined by governments in all EU countries should optimise health, indoor air quality and comfort levels. The directive doesn’t specify how to achieve satisfactory IEQ and harmonise indoor comfort requirements across Member States, but it provides a great opportunity to integrate IEQ and energy performance.

Now that the directive must be transposed into national legislation (by March 2020), there are great opportunities to increase the importance of IEQ.

EU Member States should ensure they:

  • include measures promoting IEQ in long-term renovation strategies
  • integrate IEQ in Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
  • reform the cost-optimal methodology & include parameters to evaluate the impacts on IEQ
  • ensure compliance and quality control measures to help achieve satisfactory IEQ

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