Other speakers identified areas where industrial hygienists can
drive innovation in the green building process. Brian Hageman
of Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch focused on a building’s water
loop and the impact of conservation methods on water quality
and infection control. The introduction of the “purple pipe”—the
system of collection and reuse of gray water from rainwater,
condensate systems, and process cooling—into building construction creates a need for IHs’ skills in evaluating perceived hazards
and educating occupants. Most people would be appalled to see
yellowish water fill a toilet after it is flushed. Once they understand that captured rainwater may have a slight color to it, the
perceived hazard is mitigated.
As Tom Lent of Healthy Building Network explained, the slew
of green product certifications on the market has created confusion about the specification of green materials in the manufacturing and building design professions. A material such as
bamboo flooring may have a wonderful renewable material content, but the chemical binders and adhesives used to provide installers with the level of comfort they are used to can offset the
green properties of the raw material. Rating systems that illustrate all elements of a green chemical or building material—from
the IAQ and user exposure to the energy used to extract, process,
and transport the material—are in development.
Michael Behm, assistant professor in the Occupational Safety
Program of East Carolina University, focused on the health and
safety of the green-collar worker. The trend toward green roofs,
skylights, wind turbines and solar panels in the building assembly have created new safety hazards for construction workers.
Behm reiterated the value of industrial hygienists’ early involvement in project planning to reduce worker injuries.
Donna Heidel of NIOSH discussed the agency’s Prevention
through Design initiative (PtD). Current green criteria overlook a
variety of hazards, including isocyanates in spray-foam insulation and silica exposure in construction practices. Standards for
worker safety are greatly needed; however, PtD’s implementation
hurdles have made integration difficult.
Finally, Edward Quevedo, director of Environmental Management and Sustainability Programs at WSP Environmental, summarized the day’s discussions and inspired the audience to help
OEHS professionals return the human element into the discussion of green buildings and sustainability.
More to Come
The Green Building Working Group is developing a Tele Web and
outreach materials for the AIHA membership based on the success of the AIHce symposium. To provide feedback on your interest in these products and/or to become involved with the
working group, please contact one of the members of the GBWG
executive team at www.aiha.org/insideaiha/volunteergroups/
CONNECT for CREDIT