Research has shown that, even though the conditions seem to comply with current standards for indoor environmental quality (IEQ), staying indoors is not good for our health. We are confronted with diseases and disorders related to indoor environmental quality such as mental illnesses, obesity and illnesses that take longer to manifest, among which cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases and cancer, and very recently, COVID-19, caused by mainly airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 indoors.
Except for these health effects, the consequences for indoor environment of climate change, asking for extreme measures with regards to thermal and air quality control, the effects of the retrofitting measures we take to reduce energy consumption on health and comfort indoors, is also an emerging concern. IEQ is still described with quantitative dose-related indicators, expressed in number and/or ranges of numbers for each of the factors (indoor air, lighting, acoustics and thermal aspects).
Building-related (e.g. sound-absorbing quality of materials) and occupant-related indicators (e.g. acoustical comfort) are rarely applied. Health-based guidelines are missing. Interactions of stressors and effects at and between human and environment level are ignored. Individual differences in needs and preferences of occupants (over time) are not accounted for. Resilient new ways of creating and maintaining healthy and comfortable indoor spaces for different occupants in different situations, require better understanding of the indoor environment, its occupants and interactions.