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Thesis Defence: The effect of indoor daylight on indoor microbiome under a controlled mini-living lab and a natural hospital setting: towards better healthy building designs
April 4 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Rita Lam, supervised by Dr. Sepideh Pakpour, will defend their dissertation titled “The effect of indoor daylight on indoor microbiome under a controlled mini-living lab and a natural hospital setting: towards better healthy building designs” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering.
An abstract for Rita’s thesis is included below.
Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in-person defences.
The negative impact of infectious agents in buildings have long been recognized by health professionals, and extensive efforts have been made to remove “harmful” substances from the built environment that we spent 90% of the time in today. However, current buildings are far from being truly healthful evidenced by growing risks of hospital associated infections, seasonal epidemic outbreaks, and recent global pandemic. In recent years, scientists and researchers have starting to realize that improving building design can provide extensive benefits to occupant’s health meanwhile reduce the building’s environmental impact. Indoor daylight, an important healthy building foundation, plays a crucial role in affecting the occupant’s mental and physical health, albeit its effect on indoor microbiome has rarely been explored.
The goal of this study is to explore the interactions between indoor daylight and indoor microbiome which can be an important step towards better healthy building designs. To achieve this, the first experiment was performed in a controlled laboratory environment where bacterial and fungal pathogens were exposed to indoor daylight on different surfaces. The second experiment was performed in a natural hospital setting, where indoor environment and patient samples were collected in 10 patient rooms with different indoor daylight conditions. Results of this study showed that indoor daylight can be a promising intervention to reduce pathogen growth and minimize infections. Green building design such as electrochromic window which brings more indoor daylight into the buildings can be a critical step to maintain a healthy indoor microbiome and achieve a truly healthy building.