Design strategies for sustainable buildings, that improve building performance and avoid extensive resource utilization, should also promote healthy indoor environments. The following paper contains a review of the couplings between (1) building design, (2) indoor environmental quality and (3) occupant behavior. The paper focuses on defining the limits of adaptation on the three aforementioned levels to ensure the energy efficiency of the whole system and healthy environments. The adaptation limits are described for measurable physical parameters and the relevant responsible human sensory systems, evaluating thermal comfort, visual comfort, indoor air quality and acoustical quality. The goal is to describe the interactions between the three levels where none is a passive participant, but rather an active agent of a wider human-built environment system. The conclusions are drawn in regard to the comfort of the occupant. The study reviews more than 300 sources, ranging from journals, books, conference proceedings, and reports complemented by a review of standards and directives.
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