Tracing the history of air conditioning’s impact on occupant health and comfort

Patrick Sisson, writing for Curbed, wrote a wonderful article: How air conditioning shaped modern architecture — and changed our climate. He states: Air conditioning enabled our great modernist buildings to rise, but it’s also fueled today’s energy and environmental crisis. AC helped create a new building typology, one that environmentally conscious architects and designers are … Continue reading Tracing the history of air conditioning’s impact on occupant health and comfort

University of Toronto experiences major Asbestos leak during renovation, fires longtime contractor

University of Toronto’s 50-year-old Medical Sciences Building was undergoing major renovation when multiple leaks of asbestos fibers were discovered. According to the CBC: The vice president of university operations, Scott Mabury, told CBC Toronto the contractor, which he refused to name, is no longer continuing its asbestos removal work in the 50-year-old building and will not … Continue reading University of Toronto experiences major Asbestos leak during renovation, fires longtime contractor

Minnesota may require building owners to register cooling towers to combat Legionnaires’ outbreaks

Legionnaires’ Disease is a pneumonia-like affliction that affects a minority of people exposed to the Legionella pneumophila bacteria. It was first identified when 221 people attending a reunion for members of the American Legion that took place around the nation’s bicentennial in 1976 fell ill. Sadly, 34 of those people lost their lives and it wasn’t until January, 1977 when the cause of the mysterious illness was discovered.

After a recent outbreak in Hopkins, Minnesota which left one person dead and 23 sick, scientists were able to utilize DNA-sequencing to conclusively determine that the cause was a cooling tower at a manufacturing center. Those infected breathed in air in which Legionella had become aerosolized as a result of the cooling tower. What’s particularly frightening is that this cooling tower is less than 3 years old and exhibited no indication of defective construction. Continue reading “Minnesota may require building owners to register cooling towers to combat Legionnaires’ outbreaks”

Improving indoor air quality with a visit the local library?

Many people that know me also know that I am very involved with the San Diego Green Building Council. One of the programs I allocate quite a bit of time to is our highly regarded Green Assistance Program (GAP), which gives our volunteer community an opportunity to work on improving the operations and maintenance of facilities belonging to other local nonprofits. A big part of that process includes evaluating indoor air quality and identifying the no- and low-cost upgrades that can improve health for occupants.

Few people, even in the design and construction industry, realize the impact of indoor air quality on human comfort. It is subtle, and often very subjective. However, clear objective standards do exist. Continue reading “Improving indoor air quality with a visit the local library?”

Mosaic: How do the buildings in which we work affect us emotionally and physically?

The following article is published with permission from Mosaic, and was written by Lucy Maddox. “Mosaic is dedicated to exploring the science of life. Each week, we publish a feature on an aspect of biology or medicine that affects our lives, our health or our society; we tell stories with real depth about the ideas, trends and people that drive contemporary life sciences.”

Anything that changes how we feel emotionally can have an impact on our physical health too, according to the science of psychoneuroimmunology. Continue reading “Mosaic: How do the buildings in which we work affect us emotionally and physically?”