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Healthy Homes is a 1:1 scale demonstration project in Holstebro, which seeks to bring together research and practice and explore the possibilities for improving the indoor climate in Danish homes through better use of building materials, construction practices and technology.
Healthy Homes is a building experiment constructed by Realdania’s subsidiary Realdania By & Byg. The project comprises three houses in Holstebro conceived as a kind of 1:1 scale laboratory in which researchers can try out different construction methods in an attempt to achieve a healthier indoor climate.
The project focuses on three specific aspects of indoor climate:
The project has a particular focus on bedrooms and playrooms. Ensuring that children have a healthy indoor climate is a priority for Realdania. The primary focus of building Healthy Homes has been on children’s bedrooms and playrooms, as, besides their function as bedrooms, these rooms are also impacted by emissions from toys, electronic devices etc.
The three courtyard houses in Holstebro employ a range of design strategies, building materials, construction methods and technologies. The NOW-Tech house was constructed in accordance with the current standard (BR2015) and serves as a kind of reference building. The YES-Tech house embraces technology and is furnished with the latest technological solutions, while the NO-Tech house utilises passive solutions e.g. through its design and use of materials.
The division of the project into three houses is a means of testing the various approaches at 1:1 scale and establishing how the current standard can be improved. The three houses all live up to current energy criteria and fall within the budget of a standard construction project. This is in keeping with the goal of the project to ensure that the solutions found can be used elsewhere.
A reference building resembles the majority of new buildings today. The thinking behind this house is to compare its indoor climate with that of the two other buildings, which make use of a range of NEW-Tech and NO-Tech solutions.
This house sets out to try to remedy potential indoor climate problems by changing the behaviour of the occupants. For instance, it features a dedicated playroom and an outdoor shower and kitchen so as to reduce damp and particle pollution inside the house.
In contrast to the NO-Tech house, the YES-Tech house embraces technological solutions aimed at optimising the indoor climate, including a specially-developed ventilation system, allowing more natural light into the house, and an extractor fan to eliminate exposure to particle pollution.
In 2016-2017, Realdania By & Byg built three courtyard houses in Holstebro as part of the project Healthy Homes. From May 2017 to early 2018 measurements were taken of the indoor climate in the three houses.
The performance report follows up on the measures taken to improve indoor climate which form the central focus of the Healthy Homes project, and documents the conditions in the unoccupied houses.
The report will later be supplemented by documentation of the conditions in the occupied houses, including qualitative studies carried out in collaboration with the residents themselves.
The theory is that, in recent years, focus on energy consumption and the environment may have had a negative impact on residents’ health and comfort. The project sets out to demonstrate that it is possible to improve the indoor climate in Danish homes without compromising on energy efficiency or the environment, and without increased costs. At the same time, the goal is to move responsibility for ensuring a healthy indoor climate to the construction process, rather than on the occupants. Currently poor indoor climate is typically attributed to inappropriate behaviour by residents. The project aims to provide a new understanding of the issues and pave the way for a future in which new and existing homes alike are healthy places to live.
The three houses were completed in the summer of 2017. The houses have been sold. Going forward, the indoor climate in the houses will periodically be measured, and an anthropologist will stay in contact with the new occupants in order to ensure data collection.
Lendager Arkitekter & Pluskontoret / Realdania By & Byg