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Health and Wellbeing in Buildings: A Real Appetite for Change

CliveShrubsole18 November 2016

The Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Non-Domestic Buildings half day conference at UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture, has to go down as one of the most successful and timely conferences yet.

The conference was jointly hosted by UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE), CIBSE Home Counties SE and the CIBSE Natural Ventilation Group, and organised by IEDE’s Marcella Ucci, Vivian Dorizas and Rachel Kempsell, Richard Davies of (ARUP)-CIBSE HCSE and Colin Ashford of -CIBSE HCSE and CIBSE NVG – who was crucial in suggesting the conference and establishing the initial contact between  CIBSE and UCL many years ago.

Tickets sold out very quickly and the venue was packed on the day. There was a vibrant and energetic atmosphere with both speakers and attendees enthusiastically taking part.

Along with two international speakers there were presentations  from UK based speakers representing  a variety of perspectives. It was clear from the scope and depth of subjects covered by the speakers, that the emerging emphasis on health, wellbeing and productivity in buildings has wide-ranging implications and has gained real traction with industry. The conference featured cutting-edge research, scientific evidence and case studies on health, wellbeing and productivity in relation to buildings in order to encourage stakeholders such as designers, consultants and environmental engineers to contribute to the design and management of healthier indoor environments, including supporting of clients. In addition, presentations included practical ideas on how to create healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environments with regards to indoor environmental quality (IAQ).

Videos of the individual speaker’s presentations are currently being uploaded to the UCL IEDE YouTube channel and will be available imminently

In her presentation, Marcella Ucci, Senior Lecturer at the UCL IEDE and course director of the new MSc on Health Wellbeing and Sustainability in Buildings of the Bartlett UCL, underpinned the need of new approaches to cover the performance gap and introduced the new UCL MSc on Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings of UCL* which fully covers the subject area. Marcella also raised the need for new models to investigate health & wellbeing outcomes and to build a business case study.

The real appetite for the subject was seen not only from the enthusiastic interchanges and questions to the speakers from the floor, but more by the fact that even after the networking event at the end of the conference, no-one had any desire to leave the building and had to be encouraged to leave, suggesting further such events are urgently needed.

*For more information about the New MSc, please email the Course Director,  Dr Marcella Ucci.
For administrative information, please contact Leila Tufekci.

Every Breath We Take: Indoor Air Pollution and Health

CliveShrubsole24 February 2016

indoor air quality, homes, skylineI got rather excited yesterday…..and then out of breath….

For the first time in ages, the issue of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) got a full public airing with the arrival of a report published jointly by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath. Titled ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’, it presented a stark message that each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with more linked also to exposure to indoor pollutants. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution (downloads available at the bottom of the webpage).Whilst the main focus of the report was on outdoor air issues, (previously blogged on; ‘Innovative solutions to the problems of airborne pollution in cities’ and ‘Vehicle emissions: its time to put emphasis back on human health’), the issues of indoor air were also finally acknowledged. With the UK population spending over 80% of our time indoors, and around half (48–53%) of our time in our own homes, buildings and occupant behaviour have the potential to act as significant modifiers on population exposure to pollution from both outdoor and indoor sources.

For those of us at UCL IEDE involved in research on health, wellbeing, and the impacts of indoor environments it was a familiar message and one that we have spoken and published on extensively over a long period. (more…)