Sandra Dedesk

MASc, P.Eng, WELL Advisor, WELL Faculty, WELL AP
PhD Student and Researcher

Sandra specializes in high-performance buildings that promote occupant health and environmental sustainability. She is a PhD student and researcher in the Healthy Buildings group at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she combines her building design and engineering background with expertise in environmental health and exposure assessment. She has international research and consulting experience in this area and has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications on this topic. Sandra is passionate about translating scientific findings to practical applications and is involved with developing and delivering education through the University of Toronto, the Canada Green Building Council, and the International Well Building Institute.


Climate change has brought more varied climatic conditions and extreme weather events that pose new challenges to the built environment. While growing attention is being put towards designing for enhanced resilience and physical durability, there has been less consideration of the impacts on indoor environmental quality. The average North American spends over 90% of their time indoors where they are exposed to numerous dynamic environmental conditions. Accordingly, time spent in buildings has a prominent impact on human health and wellbeing. While the COVID-19 pandemic has garnered more widespread appreciation for this, there are additional climate change considerations beyond infectious disease control that must be considered to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes resulting from time spent in buildings in the years to come. . These considerations will be explored by examining specific climate change-driven events and the resulting impacts on the indoor environment, including: The influence of flooding on the indoor microbiome; The impacts of wildfires on indoor air quality; and The effects of heatwaves on indoor thermal conditions and occupant perceptions. Each scenario will be presented to answer two main discussion questions: What are the impacts on indoor environmental quality? What does this mean for occupant health and wellbeing? This session will provide an overview of indoor environmental quality and highlight design considerations of increasing importance in our ever-changing climate reality.