Building related illness

Over recent years there has been awareness of the phenomenon 'sick building syndrome', more accurately termed 'building-induced sickness'. Factors like off-gassing from plastics in furnishings and fittings or the frequency of fluorescent lights have been implicated. Poorly designed heating and ventilation systems have also been identified as culprits, aside from the most spectacular problem of Legionnaires disease. There have been numerous horror stories of badly maintained systems providing a comfortable habitat for all manner of unmentionable life forms as well as closed systems recycling bacteria and viruses resulting in high levels of absenteeism.

Recent studies have suggested that sick building syndrome is also related to job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is more easily achieved in a pleasant comfortable environment in which the occupants are permitted some degree of control over their surroundings. When energy efficient design sets a good baseline of environmental conditions, the extra effort necessary to fine tune comfort to an individual's personal preferences quickly pays off.

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