Climate change

Drought region
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Global warming not only presents a major challenge for science, politics and society, but also directly affects indoor air quality. The significance of climate change for Germany and Central Europe can be described by the following scenarios: there will be more days with extreme temperatures (>30 °C), heavy rainfall and a simultaneous decrease in the average amount of precipitation. The change in temperature, humidity and direct sunlight in particular will lead to a deterioration in air quality and thus to a significant risk of health hazards. The following section provides recommendations on how the consequences of overheating in buildings can be minimized through structural measures and user behavior.

Consequences of increased outside temperatures

Higher outdoor temperatures can lead to a rise in temperature indoors. In general, physical and mental work and learning becomes more difficult above a room temperature of 26 °C. Elderly and sensitive people also suffer from high temperatures. An increased temperature indoors can increase the emissions of air pollutants from building products and furnishings into the indoor air.

According to the current state of climate research, it is not possible to make a statement about future cold periods with temperatures below 0 °C.


Recommended measures

To comply with current energy saving standards, more and more buildings are being planned, built and renovated to be more airtight. This requires increased manual ventilation by users in winter and summer. When outside temperatures are high in summer, only a low air exchange rate is achieved due to the small temperature difference between the outside and inside air. Basement rooms should not be ventilated at all when temperatures are high, otherwise there is a risk of condensation. Further information on this topic can be found on the " Proper ventilation" topic page.

The German Indoor Hygiene Commission recommends using low-emission products when constructing, renovating and refurbishing buildings. The same applies to furnishings in order to minimize the entry of air pollutants.

Furthermore, during construction, in addition to the necessary thermal insulation, attention should be paid to minimizing building heating in the summer. This can be achieved through passive construction measures or, if necessary, through active climate control support (see the topic pages "Smart Homes" and "Influence of ventilation systems on indoor air quality").


Fisk, W.J., 2015. Review of some effects of climate change on indoor environmental quality and health and associated no-regrets mitigation measures. Building and Environment 86, 70-80.

IPCC, International Panel on Climate Change, 2023. Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report 2023 – Summary for Policymakers 

Jacobson, M.Z., 2012. Air Pollution and Global Warming. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Nazaroff, W.W., 2013. Exploring the consequences of climate change for indoor air quality. Environmental Research Letters 8, 015022. DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015022

Salthammer, T., Zhao, J., Schieweck, A., Uhde, E., Hussein, T., Antretter, F., Künzel, H., Pazold, M., Radon, J., Birmili, W., 2022. A holistic modeling framework for estimating the influence of climate change on indoor air quality. Indoor Air, 32(6):e13039.

Zhao, J., Uhde, E., Salthammer, T., Antretter, F., Shaw, D., Carslaw, N., Schieweck, A., 2024. Long-term prediction of the effects of climate change on indoor climate and air quality. Environmental Research, 243:117804.