• 28 FEB 07
    • 0

    #658:Electromagnetic Fields in the Built Environment (RAIA)

    Following on from the last message, in August 2006 a paper was published in the BDP Design Digest, a publication of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects that called for the inclusion of reducing electromagnetic fields in building design. The paper is copyrighted to RAIA and only available on their web site to subscribers. However as lead author I can send a pdf copy on request, provided it is not placed on a web site. Here is the abstrac and Introduction:


    Electromagnetic Fields in the Built Environment: Design for Minimal Radiation Exposure
    Don Maisch, John Podd and Bruce Rapley

    This paper explores the evidence that another factor to be considered in Sick Building Syndrome and Indoor Environment Quality is exposure to prolonged and excessive electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Enough evidence now exists to justify taking a precautionary approach in building design to significantly reduce and minimise occupant exposure at relatively little cost at the planning and design stage.

    1.0 Introduction
    According to the Australian Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Energy and Thermofluids Engineering Department, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and respirable particles are considered to be major contributors to indoor air pollution, leading to Sick Building Syndrome. Increasingly, regulators and stakeholders are becoming more focused on the significance of indoor environment quality and occupant wellbeing.

    Sufficient evidence now exists to suggest that another indoor “˜pollutant”™ is the prolonged and excessive exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in buildings. This paper explores potential sources of EMFs in buildings and gives an overview of current EMF standards and guidelines in the Australian context. Also discussed is the Swedish “˜Healthy Office Project”™, presented as an example of a practical precautionary design approach. Suggested design solutions are given to assist the designer in including EMF as criteria to be addressed in the preliminary design stage.

    In both the contemporary office building and home environments the ever-increasing use of electrical devices means that occupants may be inadvertently exposed to magnetic fields generated within the building, and at levels that some studies indicate may be potentially harmful to human health. Generally, the addition of external power-line generated magnetic fields to indoor levels is considered to be minimal in terms of potential exposure and is therefore not detailed in this paper. Radiofrequency and microwave electromagnetic radiation (EMR) are also not covered in this paper.

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