EventsReactivity of ­Buildings

Reactivity of ­Buildings

Richard Corsi

University of Texas at Austin

Event from
16 May
Foto von Richard Corsi



All buildings are dynamic, spatially heterogeneous, and far from inert. Recent trends in building construction, operation and maintenance, and the behaviour and choices of human occupants, have magnified the importance of physical, chemical and biological reactions in buildings. These reactions result in a wide range of contaminants that were rarely found in buildings just two decades ago. Such contaminants may persist for days to decades, act as respiratory irritants or triggers for asthma, and can even be toxic.



Richard Corsi: “The indoor environment is not the safe, clean sanctuary we thought it was. In fact, humans spend approximately 72 years of their lives indoors, so most of the exposure to toxic substances is dominated by what they breathe and touch while they are indoors. Ironically, the focus has been on protecting the public from toxins that exist outdoors.” Corsi argues that more engineers, scientists, and social scientists are needed who are dedicated to improving knowledge on indoor environmental quality, solving related problems and educating the public on the dos and don’ts in their own homes. 

Richard Corsi’s presentation explored the ingredients that magnify the re­activity of buildings and discussed passive engineering solutions to adverse reactions that should foster greater human health within the sustainable building movement.  

Richard Corsi

Dr. Richard L. Corsi is the ECH Bantel Professor for Professional Practice in ­the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas in Austin. His research focuses on the sources, physics and chemistry of indoor air pollution, human exposure to and passive control of indoor air pollutants, and the nexus between energy consumption in buildings and indoor air quality. He has acted as principal investigator on over 70 research projects, and he and his students have authored or co-authored over 300 journal/conference papers, reports, and book chapters.


Dr. Corsi’s work has been featured in National Geographic, The Economist, Business Week, National Wildlife and many others. Dr. Corsi was named a distinguished alumnus of Humboldt State University in 2006, a member of the prestigious ISIAQ Academy of Fellows in 2008, and served as President of Indoor Air 2011.