We need a regular supply of water to move the products of food processing around the body. Water also helps cool the body. We need food and drinking water that is free from harmful microorganisms. Contaminated food and water spread hepatitis and typhoid. Building systems are designed to remove body and food wastes promptly for safe processing. We look at these issues in Part II of this book, on Water and Wastes.
We must have air to breathe for the oxygen it contains, which is the key to the chemical reactions that combust (burn) the food-derived fuels that keep our body operating. When we breathe air into our lungs, some oxygen dissolves into the bloodstream. We exhale air mixed with carbon dioxide and water, which are produced as wastes of combustion. Less than one-fifth of the air's oxygen is replaced by carbon dioxide with each lungful, but a constant supply of fresh air is required to avoid unconsciousness from oxygen deple tion and carbon dioxide accumulation. Building ventilation systems assure that the air we breathe indoors is fresh and clean.
The human body is attacked by a very large assortment of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Our skin, respiratory system, and digestive tract offer a supportive environment for microorganisms. Some of these are helpful, or at least benign, but some cause disease and discomfort. Our buildings provide facilities for washing food, dishes, skin, hair, and clothes to keep these other life forms under control. Poorly designed or maintained buildings can be breeding grounds for microorganisms. These are issues for both the design of building sanitary waste systems and indoor air quality (IAQ).
Our buildings exclude disease-carrying rodents and insects. Pests spread typhus, yellow fever, malaria, sleeping sickness, encephalitis, plague, and various parasites. Inadequate ventilation encourages tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. Adequate ventilation carries away airborne bacteria and excess moisture. Sunlight entering the building dries and sterilizes our environment.
Our soft tissues, organs, and bones need protection from hard and sharp objects. Smooth floor surfaces prevent trips and ankle damage. Our buildings help us move up and down from different levels without danger of falling, and keep fire and hot objects away from our skin. The interior designer must always be on the alert for aspects of a design that could cause harm from falling objects, explosions, poisons, corrosive chemicals, harmful radiation, or electric shocks. By designing spaces with safe surfaces, even and obvious level changes, and appropriately specified materials, we protect the people who use our buildings. Our designs help prevent and suppress fires, as well as facilitating escape from a burning building.
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