Environmental Health and Interior Design

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I have always been a bit jealous of those who knew since an early age what they wanted to do for their career. Being a multi-passionate person I always enjoy hearing stories about other people’s journey across a winding path to their chosen career.  Two of my current favorite podcast that explore this topic are: How I built this and Career Relaunch. It’s fascinating hearing how life experiences may lead you to different paths and I think at the end of life we may look back and see how every experience we go trough prepares us to what we are meant to do and who we are meant to be… at the end knowledge is a multidisciplinary endeavor!

Environmental Health may not be the first thing you think about when you think of Interior Design. When I decided to go to interior design school a part of me was afraid! I worried about venturing into another field unrelated to my experience and degree in biology and environmental management.  Turns out I was wrong! There is a relation between my degrees and experience. Environmental health is the bridge that connects my environmental science and design degrees.

Environmental Health focuses in exploring how chemical, biological and physical factors in our environment affect human health. Studies in this field aim to create healthy environments to prevent disease by assessing and controlling environmental factors in our air, water, soil, and built environment. By applying environmental health principles we can design interior spaces that promote wellbeing. Indoor air quality, lighting, acoustics, ergonomics and sick building syndrome are all environmental health concerns that can be addressed through interior design.

Indoor environments may present higher concentrations of pollutants than the outdoors due to the enclosed nature of interiors. Materials and substances used indoors may release chemicals to the environment that will most likely remain indoors if no appropriate measures are taken. Interior Designers can use environmental health information to specify materials that contribute to better indoor quality.  Likewise, interior designers may take into consideration acoustic elements that controls the ways in which sound impact occupants within and through spaces; and specify appropriate lighting conditions to enhance productivity, controllability and glare control.

How was your path to your career?  Did you have a straightforward path? Or did your encounter detours along the way? Do you have any podcast recommendations? Do, share!