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      Response to “Comment on ‘COVID-19, the Built Environment, and Health’”

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      Environmental Health Perspectives

      Environmental Health Perspectives

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          Abstract

          I thank Drs. Erren and Lewis for highlighting the role of daylight and of the circadian timing system in human health and well-being. Their observations about the potential of COVID-19 restrictions to disrupt circadian rhythms are well placed. Providing more daylight in the built environment nicely exemplifies the complexities in seemingly simple solutions. On the positive side, generous windows can provide not only daylight but also a substantial cobenefit: views of vegetation and other natural features. Evidence from homes, schools, offices, and health care settings suggests the value of such views (Elsadek et al. 2020; Ko et al. 2020; Li and Sullivan 2016; Ulrich 1984). On the negative side, generous windows create challenges with respect to thermal loading and energy demand, especially in hot and cold environments (Alwetaishi and Benjeddou 2021). Excessively hot or cold indoor environments undermine comfort and performance and may threaten health, and increased energy use, if sourced from fossil fuel combustion, also threatens health. These challenges must be addressed through careful window design and placement, choice of glass, and shading (Gasparella et al. 2011; Kiran Kumar et al. 2017). Drs. Erren and Lewis’s excellent points remind us that optimizing light exposure, like so many environmental health interventions, requires systems thinking, multidisciplinary collaboration, and thoughtful trade-offs.

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          Most cited references 7

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          View through a window may influence recovery from surgery.

           R. Ulrich (1984)
          Records on recovery after cholecystectomy of patients in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital between 1972 and 1981 were examined to determine whether assignment to a room with a window view of a natural setting might have restorative influences. Twenty-three surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses' notes, and took fewer potent analgesics than 23 matched patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall.
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            Impact of views to school landscapes on recovery from stress and mental fatigue

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              Analysis and modelling of window and glazing systems energy performance for a well insulated residential building

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Health Perspect
                Environ Health Perspect
                EHP
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                0091-6765
                1552-9924
                14 September 2021
                September 2021
                : 129
                : 9
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ]School of Public Health, University of Washington , Seattle, Washington, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to Howard Frumkin, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195 USA. Email: frumkin@ 123456uw.edu
                Article
                EHP10183
                10.1289/EHP10183
                8439287
                34519537

                EHP is an open-access journal published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. All content is public domain unless otherwise noted.

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