Catherine's cover image

Catherine WOOLCOCK

Year of Award: 1999 Award State: South Australia Environment > Sustainability
The A.V. Jennings Churchill Fellowship to study ecological and "healthy" buildings, in particular the effect of the built environment design on indoor air quality - New Zealand, USA, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands
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Catherine Woolcock is a 1999 A. V. Jennings Churchill Fellow who travelled to the United States, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany to study ecological building design. Catherine was particularly interested in indoor air quality. She asks in her report: ‘If you look at two photos: one of a typical home living space and one of a hazy cityscape, which do you think has the greater pollution? – It is almost always the home living space!’

Indoor air is often polluted by chemical gases from synthetic building materials and furnishings, for example, carpets, carpet glue and paints, and pesticides, cleaning agents, personal care products, heating and electro-magnetic radiation. Also, previously considered safe levels of chemicals are now, after evidence of long exposure periods at low levels, showing demonstrably negative health effects. 

Catherine writes in her report, ‘We should not be fearful of knowing the extent and seriousness of the problem, but be pleased that there is so much we can do to remedy the situation and provide better environments for people to work, rest and play.’

Excerpt from “Inspiring Australians” written by Penny Hanley (2015)

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