Design for Health

Photo © Colin. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.

OVERVIEW

Design and building professionals: you’re on call. Health is not just about the doctors and nurses; interior spaces, buildings, and communities have far-reaching impacts on wellness. Design choices can:

  • help prevent mold and moisture issues

  • provide fresh air

  • ensure access to clean drinking water

  • prevent exposure to toxic chemicals

  • encourage fitness

  • support healthy circadian rhythms

Too often, though, our buildings do the opposite. These articles lay out best practices for health-focused design, based on sound scientific research.

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  • Why Chemical Transparency Matters

    Feature Article

    You can’t manage what you don’t measure—especially if you don’t know it exists in the first place.

  • Finding Furniture Without Toxic Flame Retardants

    Feature Article

    Flame retardants in upholstered furniture are easier to avoid under new rules, but they’re not gone. Here’s how to navigate the changing landscape.

  • The PVC Debate: A Fresh Look

    Feature Article

    PVC is banned by some green building programs and simply reviled by some groups. How did we get here, and has anything changed since vinyl became the enemy?

  • Green Design: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

    Feature Article

    Beauty, place-making, and even love are motivating many green designers, who see these values complementing core sustainability tenets.

  • Can We Replace Foam Insulation?

    Feature Article

    There are a lot of reasons to avoid foam, but its high performance can make it a hard habit to kick, as designers are finding out.

  • Doing Daylighting Right

    Feature Article

    Harvesting daylight is a popular way to save energy and promote productivity. But getting it wrong is all too easy-and can have the opposite effects.

  • Antimicrobial Chemicals in Buildings: Hygiene or Harm?

    Feature Article

    Carpets, door handles, and a myriad of other building products now contain pesticides targeting fungi and bacteria, offering potential benefit to the indoor environment, but also raising health concerns. This article asks whether antimicrobial products live up to their marketing claims and whether relying on them is a sound path to a hygienic environment.

  • The Evolution of Exit Signs (and Why the Latest is a Bad Idea)

    Feature Article

    Searching for reliable, energy-efficient exit signs, EBN's Alex Wilson explains why photoluminescent exit signs, one of the newest "energy-saving" devices, are one of the worst from a total-energy-use standpoint. The article reviews current technology, including LED and electroluminescent exit signs, and offers recommendations.

  • Biophilia in Practice: Buildings that Connect People with Nature

    Feature Article

    Biophilia, or human beings' inherent love for nature, has been called "the missing link in sustainable design." EBN's Alex Wilson helps readers understand biophilia, describes why it is important relative to building design, and presents specific design strategies for bringing people closer to nature.

  • Passive Survivability: A New Design Criterion for Buildings

    Feature Article

    Buildings and their occupants are vulnerable to threats ranging from storms and rising sea levels to accidents and terrorism. In this feature article, EBN describes how to design and construct buildings to maintain livable conditions in the event of extended power outages or loss of heating fuel or water.