Exploring futures of summer comfort in Dutch households
Keywords:Summer comfort, Netherlands, cultural change, qualitative study, dwellings, energy
Due to climate change, the outdoor temperatures, frequencies, and durations of heatwaves and levels of solar gain in the Netherlands are expected to increase. Based on the European Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) new standards are introduced. However, it is still uncertain how Dutch culture might adapt to this change in climate. The qualitative study underlying this paper addressed this question by focusing on the future of summer comfort in Dutch households. It comprised 21 interviews with diverse households and 10 expert interviews. Results show that while summer night ventilation and shading can prevent or reduce overheating through low-energy means, several cultural and practical barriers stand in the way of their full potential. Practices of shading and summer night ventilation require the active involvement of residents, but clash with their historically formed relation with the sun. A cultural shift is needed to better integrate these practices into household responses to hot weather. Moreover, the study identifies potential for technologies, policies and procedures to support acclimatisation of residents to higher temperatures. This could save energy as well as promote healthy living during hot weather.
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