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How to Design for Optimal Thermal Comfort (And Why it Matters)

Have you ever found yourself losing a good night’s sleep due to an overly warm room? Or wearing four jackets and a scarf just to tolerate your office’s frigid air conditioning? Truth be told, you can’t please everyone when it comes to adjusting an indoor climate, and there is always that one unfortunate individual who ends up sacrificing their own comfort for the sake of others.

Evidently, there are no ‘universal standards’ or ‘recommended comfort ranges’ in designing building systems, since athletes training in a gym in Mexico will not feel comfortable in an interior with the same building systems of a nursing home in Denmark, for instance. Which is why, if we were to briefly define ‘thermal comfort’, it is the creation of building systems that are adapted to the local environment and functions of the space, cooperatively.

So how can we design for optimum thermal comfort?

© Saint-Gobain / illustration by Elisa Géhin© Saint-Gobain / illustration by Elisa Géhin© Saint-Gobain / illustration by Elisa GéhinDiagram by Snøhetta+ 24

BBC Investigation Finds Grenfell Tower Insulation "Never Passed Fire Safety Test"

A BBC investigation has alleged that the insulation used in the refurbishment of London’s Grenfell Tower, which was tragically destroyed by fire in June 2017 with the loss of 72 people, never passed a fire safety test, and was unfit for use.

The BBC Panorama program, which aired on Monday night, concluded that the manufacturer Celotex “used extra fire retardant in the product that qualified for the safety certificate,” with the more flammable produce then sold for public use. According to the BBC, Celotex is yet to deny the program’s allegations.

Insulation Grown From Fungi

Inspired by the woods of Vermont, a US biotechnology startup have developed a system for using agricultural byproducts with fungal mycelium (a natural, self-assembling binder) to grow high performance insulation. Ecovative Mushroom® Insulation is seen as a viable competitor to plastic foams that can be found in both in packaging and building insulation, for which the project recently won second place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge.

Courtesy of EcovativeCourtesy of EcovativeCourtesy of EcovativeCourtesy of Ecovative+ 6