Occupant-home interaction before and after renovation

Data leads to an affordable and internationally applicable renovation concept

Our home: 5 features

We spend more than 90% of our time indoors, much of which is also spent in our own home. Studies show that the technical condition of a home also affects the physical and mental health of the people who live in it.

A healthy home usually has 5 features:

  • good sleeping conditions
  • comfortable indoor temperature
  • fresh air
  • plenty of natural light
  • good humidity level

Renovation: necessary, but not straightforward

In Europe the renovation of houses is an important focal point when it comes to energy efficiency. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 dwellings today will still be lived in by 2050. However, approximately 3/4 of these homes are not energy-efficient and so score poorly on at least 1 of the 5 features stated above. In fact, usually on several points. Yet despite that, many home-owners still hesitate to undertake the renovations needed due to a lack of knowledge and budget.

Affordable renovation in social housing

So how can we make sure that more homes are renovated? This is the question that VELUX asked when it embarked on a project in Anderlecht (Belgium), in the working-class district of Goede Lucht.  The project involved tackling a house built in the 1920s [JS1] where there was a significant need for structural renovation. Most of the residents of the area are tenants of the Social Housing company ‘Anderlechtse Haard’, which owns the building in question.

With this in mind, VELUX outlined an affordable renovation concept in which automatic controls play a key role: RenovActive.

From prototype to stereotype

Part of the affordability of this renovation project stems from the ability to replicate the renovation principles used. And so it was that the first renovated house was able to become the blueprint for 86 similar renovation projects in the neighbourhood. This means that RenovActive is now evolving from prototype to stereotype: millions of houses owned by social housing companies in Europe can use these same renovation principles.

OK – but what really changes for the occupant?

Every architect and manufacturer will argue based on the potential of the project or product in question. So it may be possible the effect that the renovation has on the way in which occupants actually use their house differs from the initial theoretical assessment.

A user analysis of the residents gives us an insight into the question of ‘how do various aspects of renovation have an effect on interaction between the occupant and the house?’.

Mixture of methods

Underlying the overall question, our aim is to gather knowledge about the 4 dimensions of the interaction between the occupant and the house:

  • Overall wellbeing
  • Satisfaction/happiness with the house
  • Perception of health
  • Patterns of behaviour

For this project hbits is using a combination of different data collection methods. There’s the (online) questionnaire, individual conversations and group discussions – and then there’s the MOTUS app for examining user behaviour.

The occupants use the MOTUS app to record their behaviour and answer context-related questions. The types of behaviour involve, on the one hand, the use/application of technical renovations (e.g. central ventilation, central heating, opening a window/door) and, on the other, day-to-day activities (work, domestic chores, free time, sleeping, etc.) at home/elsewhere, alone or with others.

The MOTUS app will also be used as an intermediary for communicating technical indicators (such as the consumption of heat) to the occupants and to ask extra questions about them. By doing this, we can link technical input with sociological input.

Before and after comparisons

All family members in the participating families are asked to take part in the screening at different periods of throughout the RenovActive project. The screening begins with a t-1 measurement at their old, unrenovated house and hence before they move back into their newly renovated home. Shortly after moving into the new dwelling, a t-0 measurement is carried out. A further 7 measurements are then carried out over a period of 2 years to assess any changes in behaviour and opinions. By doing this, we can also even out any seasonal variations.

The study began in 2016 and will end in 2018/19.


Case conclusion

How do people use their home? And does their interaction with the place where they live really change after a home renovation project? A before-and-after measurement using the MOTUS platform provides an insight into this question.

Research helps VELUX outline an affordable renovation concept that can be used as a blueprint for millions of homes in social housing in Europe.


#App   #Evolution   #Interview   #Questionnaire   #Sensors   #Time research