Building Ecology Essay

3855 words - 15 pages











-Control of the Indoor Environment
-Do Today's Buildings Meet Their Occupants' Needs?
-Lighting and Acoustics
-Indoor Air Quality
-Standards for air quality and ventilation
-Principles for Ventilation and Air Quality Standards
-The importance of user control
-The building against nature
-Fundamental Choices
-A building ecology approach
-Solutions for a Better Indoor Environmental Quality











INTRODUCTIONLiberally paraphrasing Brager and deDear (2003), what constitutes a "Healthy building"? "The answer to this deceptively simple question has profound implications for the way we design and operate buildings, the amount of energy required to build, operate, and maintain them, and the resulting impacts on the quality of both the natural and built environments." We face a major crisis as we head into the 21st Century. Humanity's rapid consumption of natural resources, emission of pollution and creation of waste overstress the planet's environment. Encroachment on undeveloped lands alters habitats necessary to support the biological diversity that thrived on the planet a few short years ago. Societies are developing and using modern technologies at an ever-increasing rate. Growing population and the growing fraction of people with access to energy services and other environmentally-limited and -limiting resources and technologies result in unsustainable stresses on the environment.The results of current levels of consumption and waste producing lifestyles are already evident in an unprecedented and accelerating rate of biodiversity loss, damage to the earth's atmosphere including the creation of the ozone hole over the Antarctic region, apparent human-induced global climate change, and increased occurrence of toxic and persistent pollutants in soil, water and air. It is difficult to see how this trend of environmental degradation will be stopped and reversed -- as it must be for human life on earth to become sustainable. Our buildings account for up to 40% (or more) of the total environmental burdens of modern societies, and even buildings in developing countries account for similar fractions of total national environmental burdens.In spite of their enormous impacts on the environment, modern buildings generally fail to provide all their occupants with the safety, health, and comfort that are expected. A significant fraction of building occupants are uncomfortable, dissatisfied, or even ill from the effects of modern buildings. On average, roughly 30% of office workers report experiencing frequently one or more symptoms of the so-called Sick Building Syndrome (also described as non-specific, building-related symptoms). The situation in schools appears even...

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