Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Polyvinyl Chloride: Hazards of PVC and It’s Alternatives. January 29, 2009

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES,Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 8:17 pm
Polyvinyl Chloride which is commonly know as PVC or Vinyl is one of the most commonly used synthetic or to say non biodegradable material. The production, use and disposal of PVC are all very hazardous to the environment and human health. The effects are many, to name some ; cancer, heart disease, birth defects… The list goes on.There are many alternative to PVC, some of them more expensive and may be even labour taking. But health and the preservation of environment is most important. So here we have some alternatives for PVC,

 PVC Disposal in China

PVC Disposal in China   

  1. Alternatives for PVC pipes are; cast iron, vitrified clay, and plastics such as crosslinked, polyethylene and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene).
  2. Alternative materials for PVC sidings are; wood, fibercement board, polypropylene and acrylic siding.
  3. Alternative materials for doors and windows include wood, fiberglass, and aluminum windows and doors.
  4. Alternative materials for wall covering are, natural fiber and polyethylene wall coverings. 

 PS: We can learn more on the hazards of PVC and the alternatives we have for it on (Sources) – and

Article by, Healthy Buildings: “Alternatives to Toxics in Construction“, 2000 Jan.
Thornton, Joe, Ph.D., “Environmental Impacts of Polyvinyl Chloride Building Materials© Healthy Buiding Network, 2002.
Posted By: Krithi Bhat











Businesses going green January 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 9:39 pm

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “In the United States alone, buildings account for 72% electricity consumption, 38% of all carbon dioxide emissions and 136 million tons of waste output annually.” There are environmental, economic and social benefits to building green. If you are working with a skeptical client, make them feel more comfortable about building green by re-iterating the benefits are not only for the environment but for their business as well. (1) By building green the ecosystems and biodiversity of the environment are protected. This in turn helps conserve natural resources. Using renewable resources for a buildings finishes ensures longer-lasting, durable productivity leaving less of a need for improvement down the road. This cuts costs to the company. (2) Improving the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of a business will generate a more enjoyable work environment providing more efficient and productive employees. The hiring and firing process is not only stressful but costs companies money. (3) Most businesses are run on reputation. A company that shows interest and care in the environment will not only be associated with doing good but will also gain a better reputation and more loyal clients. No matter what the goals and principles of a particular business may be, utilizing environmental awareness and building green will have a positive effect on businesses. 


USGBC: Green Building Research. U.S. Green Building Council. 27 Jan. 2009 <;.

Shawn Calvin


Flooring for Wheelchairs January 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 10:31 pm

When designing spaces for movement of wheelchairs or heavy equipment, it is important to consider friction.  Hard surfaces, as opposed to carpet surfaces, reduce the amount of of force required to move equipment and create less friction for easy movement.  Some appropriate flooring materials to consider are vinyl composition tile, composition wood, or cork…

Posted by: Kristina Kalfaian


“Design Safety Worksit Redesign Technical Advisory Report.” 22 September 2007. Department of Human Resources. 22 Jan 2009 <;.



Flooring for Wheelchairs: Rolling Resistance Test Findings

Filed under: Interior Finish Materials,Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 8:23 pm

In the field study in the rehabilitation center, tiles and tarpaulin had the lowest rolling resistance, while high piled carpet had the highest values. It is concluded that the wheelchair pushing method described in this study is usable for the determination that there are (relative) differences in rolling resistance of different floor materials if performed under standardized conditions and procedures…

Geurts , C. and LHV van der Woude. “Measurement of wheelchair rolling resistance with a handle bar push technique .” Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology 27. 6 November 2003. 249-58. 22 Jan 2009

Posted By: Kate Blanchfield


When posting remember to… January 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 8:27 pm
  • Select category (I have gone back and fixed this on several posts!)
  • Add keywords or “post tags” as appropriate
  • Highlight main ideas in text as appropriate
  • So far, everyone seems to be doing well with citations and remembering to put your names at the bottom
  • If you save draft and do not publish, you can go to “My Dashboard” and “Edit” to find your draft
  • Keep the excellent content rolling in!

Defining Disability: Definitions, value and identity.

Filed under: Philosophical,Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 8:10 pm

The word “disability” has many models of definition. There are medical, architectural, economical, and sociopolitical models of the word disability. From a sociopolitical standpoint, the definition of disability focuses on “the interactions between individuals and the environment,”(Marinelli, 6), and has thus created a minority-group model for discrimination. A way to segregate those placed below the “standard”, the sociopolitical definition of disability has been challenged by the ADA. More so now, than ever, the word disability has evolved into a word that describes a mental or physical characteristic but is not to be confused with an impairment. Out of respect and consideration, an individual with a disability should always be addressed by their name first and their disability following. This “people first” terminology was enacted by the American Psychological Association style guide so the impairment may be identified but is not modifying the person, (Wikipedia). When designing, I believe the word disability helps define tasks that may need extra consideration. Taking into account ADA regulations helps to bridge the gap between sociopolitical models of disability and architectural stability.

“Disability.” Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. July 2007. 21 Jan. 2009 <;.

Marinelli, Robert P., and Arthur E. Dell Orto, eds. The Psychological and Social Impact of Disability. Boston: Springer Company, Incorporated, 1999.
Shawn Calvin