The Comfort Tool: Assessment and Promotion of Energy Efficiency and Universal Design in Home Renovations

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

The Comfort Tool: Assessment and Promotion of Energy Efficiency and Universal Design in Home Renovations


  • Ermal Kapedani Faculty of Architecture and Art, Hasselt University, Belgium
  • Jasmien Herssens Faculty of Architecture and Art, Hasselt University, Belgium
  • Erik Nuyts Faculty of Architecture and Art, Hasselt University, Belgium
  • Griet Verbeeck Faculty of Architecture and Art, Hasselt University, Belgium


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Abstract:  This article introduces a method for advancing environmental and social sustainability objectives in relation to home renovations laid out in European and Belgian policies. The comfort tool is an instrument that simultaneously addresses the energy efficiency and universal design aspects of a sustainable home renovation while being usable and meaningful to laymen homeowners and improving their communication with building professionals. It is based on recent research exploring a synergetic merging of energy efficiency and universal design in housing through the concept of indoor environmental comfort. It employs comfort as a way of intervening in the decision-making process for energy efficiency and universal design measures in home renovations. The comfort tool takes a user-centered approach and rests on an interdisciplinary set of theoretical constructs bringing together knowledge from psychology, nursing, design, and building sciences. Besides describing the method itself, the article lays out the theoretical underpinnings and motivations behind its development and discusses relevant future considerations for sustainable home renovations research and practice.

Keywords:  comfort; comfort tool; energy efficiency; home renovation; universal design

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v7i2.5040


© Ermal Kapedani, Jasmien Herssens, Erik Nuyts, Griet Verbeeck. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.