As we spend around 90% of our time indoors, a healthy indoor environment is important. Despite everything we know about the effects of the indoor environment on the users of buildings, we continue to build homes and offices that are harmful to our health. It is high time for an integrated approach and a curriculum that pays more attention to the problem.
Light, noise, air and thermal quality help to determine whether people feel healthy and comfortable in a building. Current standards however mainly focus on single-dose relationships for the parameters of these factors. This works well for health-threatening exposures in which a clear dose-response relationship has been determined, but not for total performance assessments.
According to Philo Bluyssen, we need a different view on indoor environment quality (IEQ); a view that takes possible problems, interactions, people and effects all into account, for different scenarios, and focuses on situations rather than single components. Bluyssen is working on a ‘SenseLab’, in which it will be possible to test the materials and systems that create the conditions that affect the indoor environment. The SenseLab will allow students and researchers to use their own senses to experience what it’s like to work under a particular type of lighting, continuous noise or drafts.
Philomena Bluyssen is professor of the Indoor Environment at Delft University of Technology. She is author of the Indoor Environment Handbook: How to make buildings healthy and comfortable. In the United States, this book received the Choice Outstanding Academic Titles Award. In 2014, the sequel The Healthy Indoor Environment: how to assess occupants’ wellbeing in buildings was published.
This lecture is part of the conference Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe and organized by the Department of the Built Environment of the TU/e in cooperation with Studium Generale.
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