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‘Buildings are our Best Medicine:’ HVAC Elements Symposium to Feature Physician and Renowned Building Expert

May 18, 2021 09:22AM ● By Med Magazine

HVAC Elements is excited to bring the Sioux Falls area a symposium where environmental professionals can attend educational seminars featuring various HVAC experts who specialize in products used in healthcare applications.

Amy Rans, Marketing Director for HVAC Elements, expects a blend of healthcare, administrative and facility engineers and managers, as well as consulting engineers and architects from around the region to attend to learn how to better utilize HVAC systems for improved patient outcomes and decreased virus transmission.

The event kicks off with a keynote address by physician-turned-building expert Dr. Stephanie Taylor, MD, M. Arch, CEO and founder of Building4Health, Inc. and Taylor Healthcare Commissioning, Inc. Dr. Taylor practiced as a physician for several decades before obtaining her master’s degree in architecture and certification in infection control to gain a better understanding of the impact of a building’s environment on patient well-being. 

Years ago, practicing in the field of pediatric oncology, Dr. Taylor became concerned about the impact of indoor air quality and surface materials on her patients’ health, wondering if the indoor environment played a role in newly acquired infections. “I realized that I didn’t know anything about architectural and mechanical system design,” she confessed. “I didn’t understand most of the things our facility management staff were telling me.”

She entered the architecture field first by designing hospitals, which lasted for about eight years; but then, her work and research expanded to encompass all buildings and their occupants. Dr. Taylor soon came to a realization: “We can evaluate the indoor environment through the lens of occupant health to determine whether we are managing the hospital building correctly,” she explained. “By adding data from patient outcomes to traditional infection control tools such as surface swabbing and dust analysis we are evaluating our most important metric – human health. With this perspective we can truly make the hospital building a safe shelter for healing patients.” 

At the May 25 symposium keynote, Dr. Taylor’s address titled, “Buildings are our Best Medicine”, will explain how building professionals can incorporate health outcomes into their decisions on management of indoor spaces.  

“There is a disconnect between medicine and building sciences and problems are created by that disconnect,” she explained. “We need to ask ourselves, as building experts, what opportunities we have by reconnecting those points. What new building assessment tools and expanded clinical tools do we have to assess our buildings? We now have a much greater understanding of how indoor environments and microbes interact. We can use that knowledge to support human health, not ignore it.

“Also, it’s important to understand what the economics of good human health are,” Dr. Taylor continued. “A facility’s return on investment is always useful—figuring out how much money a hospital can save--but also how can facilities increase productivity with fewer absentee days and facilitate better learning environments? All these factors are woven together.”

Dr. Taylor hopes that by attending her address and the other symposium sessions, building professionals will clearly understand the importance of their work in protecting both individuals and public health. “Building management is key to not only reducing harmful outdoor emissions, but also to protecting and promoting the health of occupants.” she said. “If we want to decrease pandemics and many other diseases, we have to understand that human health does not exist in a silo, but within the context of the indoor environment.”

“Be excited about what you do. By bringing health into the building management equation, you can not only save patient lives but also contribute to key decisions that affect the health of all building users.” 

Other topics to be addressed at the symposium include humidification, energy management, surgical suite air distribution equipment, reducing healthcare associated infections with pressurized space programs, airflow measurement strategies, air filtration considerations, efficient HVAC equipment design needlepoint bipolar ionization systems, hot water system design and best practices in building automation. Symposium presenters are from national and international brands, including Condair, humidity experts; Daikin, efficient chillers and air handlers; Global Plasma Solutions, needlepoint bipolar ionization supplies; Siemens, building automation and temperature controls; Ebtron, air flow management for optimal air quality control; Thermal Solutions, energy efficient boilers; AAF Flanders, air filtration experts; and Price Industries, critical environment solutions.

This event provides one professional development hour per session, for a total of eight available. For the full symposium schedule, please visit Contact [email protected] to register.