Warm episodes such as heat waves increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses, such as heat strokes. The number of people exposed to extreme heat grows because of urbanisation and climate change. Our research question is: How will urbanisation and climate change together affect summertime indoor air temperatures in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and other European cities? To answer this question, the Wageningen Environmental Research and I-CHANGE team together with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions will set up a living lab with local communities in Amsterdam. In the living lab we monitor and study the spatiotemporal character of indoor and outdoor atmospheric parameters that influence citizen’s health, like urban thermal comfort and air quality. We will explain the differences in indoor temperatures between residences by factors related to neighbourhood design, building architecture and resident behaviour. Moreover, we will collaborate with existing initiatives and engage with citizens into finding climate adaptation interventions together needed to make cities healthy places to live.  

During heat waves, the intra-urban air temperatures can be substantial within cities like Amsterdam, and climate change will further increase urban temperatures (Fig. 2). Outdoor temperatures are explained by the weather and by neighbourhood design (e.g. presence of warming and cooling features in the urban space) (Fig.3). Indoor temperatures are correlated to the outdoor temperatures, though with a delay, and indoor temperatures are correlated to the building’s architecture (e.g. energy label) and residents’ behaviour (e.g. moments of opening windows). The Amsterdam Living Lab builds on the research by the Meteorology and Air Quality Section (The Meteorology & Air Quality Section of WUR and AMS-Institute will contribute in I-CHANGE LivingLab in Amsterdam | I-Change Project (ichange-project.eu)) and will monitor temperature, humidity and CO2 concentrations inside about 100 homes in Amsterdam. The homes will be selected to include citizens that will be hit by heat waves the most. With the temperature measurements and other collected data, we can explain the correlation between indoor and outdoor temperatures like in our past research (Fig. 4). One of our research goals is to develop a physical model that includes the most important mechanisms to predict the changes in a residence’s indoor temperatures. Furthermore, we will explore whether the temperatures can also be related to energy consumption of households, like heating in winters and the likelihood citizens will install air conditioning which is high power consuming in summers. 

Our hypotheses are that indoor air temperatures during heat waves are likely to be higher in homes: 

  • In neighbourhoods with a lack of vegetation and other cooling features, and an abundance of warming features 
  • That have low energy labels 
  • Of low-income households
  • With residents who cannot effectively block out sunlight and prevent the outside’s warm air of getting inside 

Are you living in Amsterdam and interested to volunteer in hosting a weather station in your house? Contact us at: contact_amsterdamlivinglab@ichange-project.eu


Figure 1. High perceived indoor temperatures can cause human health issues. The Amsterdam Living Lab will investigate the differences of indoor temperatures between residences and explain them by neighbourhood design, building architecture and resident behaviour.


Figure 2. The heat maps show the temperature perceived at any location in Amsterdam during an extremely hot summer afternoon (1 July 2015). a) The left-hand map shows the situation in the current climate. b) The right-hand map shows the situation in 2050, in the event of a considerable change in climate (WH scenario).

Source: KaartviewerKlimaateffectatlas 

Figure 3. a) Warming features on the left. b) Cooling alternatives on the right.

Source: Perceived temperature heat map – Klimaateffectatlas 


Figure 4. a) Description of measurement location of the indoor temperature sensor in Wageningen. b) Outdoor and indoor temperatures of 4 days at the start of a heat wave in July 2018. c) Lag plot of the correlation between the outdoor temperature series (15-07-2018 0:00, 24h long) and the lagged indoor temperature series. Adapted from: Sonnemans, 2019, WUR BSc Thesis.