Health is one of the cornerstones of a quality life. It is defined by a complex mix of diverse factors on which our actions can have more or less influence. In our efforts to take care of our well-being and health, we often forget about the impact of the indoor environment in buildings, in which we spend as much as 90 percent of our time. A number of European R&D projects dedicated to reducing carbon footprint and energy use in buildings reflect important policy changes and strategic orientations. Questions about a healthy indoor environment should be equally relevant – in the MOBISTYLE project (Horizon 2020), we approach the challenge of buildings through three interconnected areas, namely health, wellbeing and energy efficiency. Check out the latest project newsletter for further details on project activities and the Slovenian demo case.
One of the questions that has guided the activities in MOBISTYLE is putting the concept of thermal comfort in buildings into a slightly different context: is a constant indoor temperature (warm in winter, cold in summer) actually healthy? In the research on Healthy excursions outside the thermal comfort zone MOBISTYLE project partner Prof Dr van Marken Lichtenbelt and colleagues found that short and mild excursions outside the thermal comfort zone can improve our metabolism. In addition to its beneficial effects on our health (such as the circulatory system), temperature training also helps reduce weight by increasing energy use within the body. The environment plays a key role in the thermal balance of the body with its surroundings. Read more about the research and its findings in one of our past news stories.
Temperature training means slight fluctuations in indoor temperatures – in workplaces, for example, the morning temperature, e.g. 19 ° C, rises to 23 ° C during the day and then drops back to the starting temperature at the end of the working day. Similarly, in the summer, this decreases the cooling of the office rooms and consequently prevents heat shocks by reducing the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures.
As part of the activities of the MOBISTYLE project, we also experimented with temperature training in the Slovenian demonstration case. On 13 December 2019, the School of Economics and Business (SEB) of the University of Ljubljana held an event called “SEB in a Sweater”. The heating was reduced by 2 degrees in the university building. At the morning event, the faculty staff was addressed by the SEB Dean, Prof Dr Metka Tekavčič, who emphasized the seriousness of environmental challenges and the importance of such measures for reducing energy use in buildings. IRI UL project manager, Jure Vetršek, MSc presented past activities of energy renovation of SEB buildings and the successful energy management measures, with which SEB has become a good practice example of public buildings. He also presented the recent findings on the benefits of temperature training for our metabolism and health.