Green Building Council: Understanding the ergonomics credit

“I can’t see, hear or breathe and the paint is poisonous, but the ergonomics in here is great.”

The Green Building Council of Australia has introduced an ‘ergonomics’ credit as part of a pilot tool for building interiors.  Ergonomics means the relationship of people with everything with which they interact;  everything that affects people including materials, physical places, equipment, machines, etc.  The evaluation of all these things in a building interior would sum to an evaluation of the ergonomics of the environment.  However the Green Building Council seem to see – I think unfortunately – ergonomics as something quite separate from all these components.

The ‘indoor environment quality’ rating tool requires the assessor to make judgments about air quality (4 points); thermal comfort (2); lighting (5); visual comfort (2); acoustics (3); hazardous materials (1), pollutants from materials (7); and amenity quality (1).

All of these are valid and genuinely useful aspects of ergonomics in a building evaluation.  Even though these are clearly aspects of ergonomics, after the evaluation of these ergonomics issues, oddly there is a further independent category called ‘ergonomics strategy’ worth one point.  This makes no sense.   Ergonomics can’t be different to all these matters.  I can not imagine how a building can be too dark, too noisy, have no toilet, and be full of hazardous materials and yet gain a point for ‘ergonomics’.  


About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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