Materialities shape practices and notions of comfort in everyday life

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Development of residential energy technologies aims at ensuring thermal comfort in an increasingly energy efficient manner. This development influences everyday practices related to comfort in everyday life in dwellings. Therefore this paper analyses empirical examples from interviews with residents in three types of Danish detached houses, related to the building age, to zoom in on how changes in technologies influence residents’ practices and notions of comfort. Detached houses are the most widespread type of housing in Denmark, constituting 44 per cent of the housing stock. The analysis focuses on differences in heating systems between the housing types and shows how changes in technologies and material structures shape practices of heating and airing. In terms of heating practices and the meanings of comfort, a shift in technology from radiators to underfloor heating was found to make a clear difference in how houses are heated and thermal comfort perceived. The paper concludes that changes in material structures of houses consequently change residents’ perceptions of comfort and the related everyday practices. The paper furthermore contributes by nuancing notions of comfort in relation to different practices, and specifically the relation between airing and heating practices, as well as the context of seasons and the outdoors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • domestic heating
  • energy consumption
  • everyday life
  • homeowners
  • housing
  • home
  • occupants
  • social practices
  • space heating
  • comfort
  • users


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