Healthy Indoor Environments: The Need for a Holistic Approach

Aneta Wierzbicka*, Eja Pedersen, Roger Persson, Birgitta Nordquist, Kristian Stålne, Chuansi Gao, Lars-Erik Harderup, Jonas Borell, Héctor Caltenco, Barry Ness, Emilie Stroh, Yujing Li, Mats Dahlblom, Karin Lundgren-Kownacki, Christina Isaxon, Anders Gudmundsson, Pawel Wargocki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Indoor environments have a large impact on health and well-being, so it is important to understand what makes them healthy and sustainable. There is substantial knowledge on individual factors and their effects, though understanding how factors interact and what role occupants play in these interactions (both causative and receptive) is lacking. We aimed to: (i) explore interactions between factors and potential risks if these are not considered from holistic perspective; and (ii) identify components needed to advance research on indoor environments. The paper is based on collaboration between researchers from disciplines covering technical, behavioural, and medical perspectives. Outcomes were identified through literature reviews, discussions and workshops with invited experts and representatives from various stakeholder groups. Four themes emerged and were discussed with an emphasis on occupant health: (a) the bio-psycho-social aspects of health; (b) interaction between occupants, buildings and indoor environment; (c) climate change and its impact on indoor environment quality, thermal comfort and health; and (d) energy efficiency measures and indoor environment. To advance the relevant research, the indoor environment must be considered a dynamic and complex system with multiple interactions. This calls for a transdisciplinary and holistic approach and effective collaboration with various stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1874
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Healthy indoor environment
  • Holistic approach
  • Indoor environment quality
  • Multidisciplinary studies
  • Transdisciplinary studies

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