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Session Overview
WS4: The Need for Causal Inference Methods in Indoor Environmental Quality Research
Monday, 13/June/2022:
10:30am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Donna Vakalis
Location: MS306

Session Abstract


Having a toolkit for causal reasoning is of practical importance whether researching or practising in the fields of building design and operation. A causal lens is often implicitly or explicitly used to explain a human response in terms of indoor environmental factors. The adjacent field of environmental health is going through a methodologic revolution rooted in statistical causal inference methods; our own field could benefit from a timely, open, and inter-disciplinary discussion: how do we see reasoning about causal questions evolving in our own field?


The workshop will strengthen causal critical thinking among researchers and practitioners, then lead attendees into an interactive session.

• Part 1 briefly overviews the philosophical background of the concept of causality.

• Part 2 teaches attendees how to differentiate between causal and non-causal study frameworks, with examples from observational studies in the field of IEQ.

• Part 3 presents a series of provocative statements for participants to express themselves in a pro/con vote, with a facilitated discussion.

Our aim is to build capacity and spur informed discourse, to ultimately improve the answers we seek to complex questions related to indoor exposures and occupant outcomes of interest.


The causal mode of reasoning, history and context

Ardeshir Mahdavi

Causal Inference: Considerations for Study Design and Study Analysis

Sandra Dedesko and Donna Vakalis

Open Interdisciplinary Discussion

Marcel Schweiker

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ID: 690
Topics: 2. Mechanisms for health outcomes, 13b. Others - Special applications
Keywords: causality, associations, DAG, causal effect, counterfactual

The Need for Causal Inference Methods in Indoor Environmental Quality Research

Chair(s): Donna Vakalis (Building Decisions Research Group, UBC)

Presenter(s): Sandra Dedesko (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), Ardeshir Mahdavi (Building Physics and Building Ecology at TU Wien, Austria), Marcel Schweiker (Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University)

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