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ASHRAE Considers Occupant Health as a Building Performance Metric

According to ASHRAE guidelines (ASHRAE, 2010), since people spend about 80–90% of their time indoors and studies have indicated that a range of comfort and health related effects are linked to characteristics of the building, there has been a growth in interest in both academic and practitioner literature on occupant health and building design.

A range of issues from sick building syndrome and indoor air quality to visual comfort and acoustic comfort fall under the broader category of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).

Writing in a recent edition of “Engineered Systems Magazine,” Stephanie Taylor, M.D., notes that, “During ASHRAE’s June 2019 annual meeting in Kansas City, I became optimistic that the society is truly expanding its horizons to include occupant health as an important building performance metric. . . Clearly, understanding how the indoor environment contributes to health or sickness is consistent with the ASHRAE mission.”

In addition to health benefits, a number of cost-benefit review studies have found that allowing office workers to control their own IAQ resulted in significant reductions in sick-leaves and increases in productivity.

Based on the review of literature in these areas it is established that design of buildings needs to consider occupant well-being parameters right from the beginning.

For more information on this important topic, please click here.

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