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Re-contextualizing the notion of comfort

TitleRe-contextualizing the notion of comfort
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsCole, RJ, Robinson, J, Brown, Z, O'Shea, M
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Date Published2008
ISBN Number0961-3218
Accession NumberWOS:000257067900003

To what extent can the urgency of climate change and an evolving concept of agency (at the individual and social levels of building users) create a new context for rethinking the notion of comfort? A new, emerging notion of comfort is explored that embraces engagement with new conditions, new experiences, and new types of interactions between inhabitants and building systems and unfamiliar technologies. The emphasis is on communication and dialogue as two dynamic and adaptive processes necessary to achieve optimal building performance while valuing and responding to inhabitant knowledge and agency, and enhancing indoor environmental quality from the standpoint of the inhabitants. A primary conclusion is that the goal of shifting into a lower carbon society has created a new context for comfort, from its conventional emphasis as automated, uniform and predictable, to a broader notion that takes into consideration dynamic, integrated, and participatory aspects. The key dimensions of this emergent broader view of comfort are examined and the relationships between them revealed.