The Indoor Environment Handbook – How to Make Buildings Healthy and Comfortable from PHILOMENA M BLUYSSEN

Title: The Indoor Environment Handbook – How to Make Buildings Healthy and Comfortable
Author: PHILOMENA M BLUYSSEN
Publisher: EARTHSCAN & RIBA PUBLISHING, LONDON
ISBN No.: 978-1-84407-787-8
Year of Publication: 2009
Website: http://www.earthscan.co.uk

I found this book a fascinating mix of valuable explanations and bewildering statistics and calculations but nevertheless, its insights into how humans react normally (and abnormally) to indoor environments are excellent.

The author warns that the book is for “students of the world” who want to learn about design, construction and maintenance of non-industrial indoor environments. It was co-published with RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) so it is clear that this is also aimed at steering architects to build buildings whose insides recognise the frailties of human beings. She also suggests that it is for the teachers of the above and anyone else…which pretty much covers everyone.

The book is split into three parts:- Humans and the indoor environment; Heath and Comfort in the indoor environment; and Management of the indoor environment. Part 1 should be read as it gives an important context and explains useful detail about human physiology which is important further down the line. Part 2 and 3 contain the cutting detail and without Part 1, even the professional will want to flip back and forth to pick up on facts and explanations. However, if you want to cheat, go straight to Chapter 10, Summary and Conclusions, which succinctly précis the sections and their linkages.

The excellent contents section means that the book is easy to dip into and combined with a thorough index, it is possible to access most areas of information the reader might be interested in. The book also has some useful checklists and questionnaires which save time for the professional.

This is primarily a textbook for professionals such as Health & Safety Managers and Occupational Hygienists but the informed layman would still be able to work with it. Sadly, the author prefaces her comments with the note that it refers mainly to Western countries but with a pinch of salt, we Africans can read it. Recommended.

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