Online Program

Indoor air quality, public health, buildings and extreme weather events: Expanding the capacity of buildings to maintain healthy indoor environments during weather extremes

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Laureen Burton, MPH, Indoor Environments Division, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Sarany Singer, Indoor Environments Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and predicted to increase in severity in the future in association with climate change. In such events, people often need to take shelter inside of buildings for extended periods of time. However, these events can cause alterations and damage to buildings in the impacted community which impede their capacity to provide occupants with fundamental health and safety such as clean air, safe drinking water and security. In some cases, damages and loss of property cause community residents to seek emergency shelter in community facilities such as the local school or office building, if they have not been severely damaged. Beyond structural issues, environmental climatic changes, including those that cause extreme weather events, may worsen existing indoor environmental problems and/or introduce new ones further reducing the health and safety of the environment.As part of its efforts to promote healthier indoor air quality (IAQ) in homes, schools and large buildings the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to further understand the potential impacts of climate change on IAQ. EPA is also interested in understanding building design and renovation concepts and principles that can enhance the ability of buildings to protect occupants from the elements while providing livable indoor environmental conditions during and after severe weather events. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss potential impacts of climate change on IAQ and to begin an interdisciplinary dialogue with the public health community about promoting the application of resilient design concepts and principles or similar ideas in order to improve the adaptive ability of buildings to withstand climatic changes while maintaining key elements for occupant survival such as acceptable IAQ, manageable temperatures and humidity, adequate ventilation, and useable water and sewer services during events.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health are related. Explain the principles of resilient design as methods to enhance the ability of the built environment to provide protection during increasingly frequent extreme weather events associated with climate change. Identify ways to incorporate resilient design features into new and renovated buildings and communities.

Keyword(s): Indoor Environment, Climate Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a chemist/toxicologist for the US EPA Indoor Environments Division for over 15 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.