Building-Related Health Effects: What Do We Know?

Hospital building design, construction, operations, and maintenance influence the indoor environment and the health and well being of staff, patients, visitors and other occupants. Design and construction decisions also have impacts on the environment and public health regionally and even globally. Materials extraction, product manufacturing, transportation, use, recycling, and disposal influence air and water quality, land use, and can contribute to ozone depletion and climate change. The health of workers in the supply, production, and disposal/recycling chain, as well in building construction, operations, and maintenance, is also affected. This paper primarily addresses the influence of buildings on the health of occupants. It briefly touches on more far-reaching concerns, including the appropriateness of certain healthcare-related activities.