This grant provides research and operating support for the Biology of the Built Environment (BioBE) Center at the University of Oregon. Founded in 2010 with Sloan support, the BioBE Center conductsc research on the indoor microbiome and provides education about the microbiology of built environments. This grant provides continuing support for the Center’s ongoing outreach, research, and training activities and promotes Center efforts to implement a sustainable financing model that integrates their work with industry practice.
BioBE’s central research question is: how does the design and operation of the built environment impact the built environment microbiome? The BioBE team has planned a series of experiments organized around three primary architectural decision realms that each have implications for health, energy-efficiency, and microbiome composition and function: (1) design for air (moving air for contaminant removal and thermal tempering), (2) light (illumination for visual tasks and definition of form), and (3) material selection (finish, substrates, and structure).
Other funded work under this grant includes plans to expand and strengthen the nascent Health and Energy Industry Consortium, a group of 75 companies, professional firms, academics, and associations, and plans to educate undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students in architecture/biology about how design impacts the microbiome of built environments. The Center will also increase interdisciplinary course offerings that create new methodological approaches to education at the architecture-biology interface.