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Healthy Buildings 2015 – Posters, places... and plinths

Monday, 1 June 2015 at 1:02:PM

Healthy Buildings 2015 LogoLast week I went to the Healthy Buildings conference, which this year was in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. This is always a very interesting conference, covering as it does a wide range of topics relating to the indoor environment.

This year, the conference touched on topics as varied as temperature control, psychology, diseases – and of course our own area, indoor air quality. I really enjoy this multidisciplinary approach, as I learn about topics I’ve not studied previously, even if some are not directly relevant to my everyday work!

‘Best paper’ award

The conference also stands out for the quality of the presentations and posters – aided no doubt by prizes for the ‘best paper’. This year the ‘non-student’ award was won by our friends at the IKEA test lab in Almhult, Sweden – Martin Jönsson, Per-Erik Gustavsson, Miladinca Bude and Annelise Larsen. In this study, they used various chamber technologies with TD–GC–MS (and olfactory analysis) to look at the effect of a polypropylene foil on the indoor environment. As they used our Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor, they’ve kindly given us permission to put their poster on our website. If you’re interested, have a look here (where you can also find my own poster on in-vehicle air quality).

Splitting the venues

There has historically always been just one Healthy Buildings conference every three years, but this year for the first time they have split it into European and US ‘branches’ – the US event will be held in Boulder, Colorado, in July.

It’s of course great that there is such a high level of interest in this field in the US – where the organisers ISIAQ incidentally have a big membership. But it does mean that (if you can only attend one event) you miss out on what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic. This is exacerbated by the event lasting 2½ days rather than a week, so it did feel a bit more rushed than usual.

New aesthetic forms?

Despite these reservations, though, I think the organisers of the conference did an excellent job of creating a full and interesting program. As well as the scientific aspects, they included a trip to an art gallery to view the ‘Open World’ exhibition.

In the words of the organisers, this demonstrates “how the symbiosis between technique, design and art contributes to the development of new materials and aesthetic forms”. Make of that what you will – but I was particularly taken with the array of 15 coloured desktop fans on a set of plinths. Just what I’ll need in our office if it turns out to be a hot summer!

Caroline Widdowson


Dr Caroline WiddowsonCaroline Widdowson is the Product Marketing Manager for thermal desorption at Markes International, having previously received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cardiff University. She’s had lots of experience of TD applications while at Markes, and now draws on this to develop and promote Markes’ range of TD products. She still finds time to attend conferences though – Healthy Buildings is her fourth this year!


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