Effect of climate change on building design and indoor health (ECOCIDE)

Main funder

Funder's project number329883

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 413 406,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date01/01/2020

Project end date31/12/2023


Microbiota, the community of microscopic organisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses), of the built environment affects indoor air quality and human health, as well as the structural integrity and safety of the building. Numerous future processes, such as (1) changes in climate, (2) novel building designs (to promote energy efficiency) and (3) changes in building materials (to promote sustainability) will alter the hygrothermal conditions (the air flow, temperature and moisture) of building structures. This change in the environment of the building will alter the composition of the microbiota in, as yet, unknown ways. For example, especially in Nordic countries the likely increase in periods of elevated moisture and temperature could render energy-efficient buildings susceptible to increased microbial growth, with obvious negative implications for human health and the economy. To determine how building design interacts with climate and the indoor microbiota, we adopt an interdisciplinary synthesis of (1) evolutionary biology and genomics (2) building physics and (3) materials science, where we use a combination of experimental microcosms, genomics and numerical simulations to simulate and then quantify potential impacts of building design and climate change on the composition and function of the indoor microbiota. We focus on quantifying the community dynamics and evolutionary processes of microbiota living within the building structures as it is in these areas where moisture can accumulate (due to a combination of high humidity and reduced air flow) and where microbial communities can thus grow unnoticed until a serious ‘mould’ problem develops. This research is important as (1) built environments represent a global biome whose environment drives evolution of many organisms and (2) humans spend an estimated 90% of their lives indoors: humans are therefore directly affected by the composition of the indoor biome and its response to climate change and changes in construction practice. In addition to quantifying evolutionary responses of indoor microbiota to environment change, the combination of microcosm experiments and numerical simulations have the practical application of identifying problems with the design of new builds and retrofits (renovations of buildings), thereby helping ‘future proof’ against the need for excessive renovations that impact human health and the economy.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Primary responsible unit

Related publications and other outputs

Last updated on 2024-23-01 at 12:48