Glossary of Common Definitions, Acronyms, and Fields

Architectural Medicine includes the integration of many different fields and professions.The following Glossary of Common Definitions, Acronyms, and Fields is provided to help navigate the sophisticated nomenclature in both the Architecture and Medical fields.

You can also hover over some words throughout the site that have a dotted underscore, which will show a definition as a tooltip. All Glossary terms are defined from Wikipedia, unless otherwise noted.

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  • UMLS
    UMLS - The Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) is a compendium of many controlled vocabularies in the biomedical sciences (created 1986). It provides a mapping structure among these vocabularies and thus allows one to translate among the various terminology systems; it may also be viewed as a comprehensive thesaurus and ontology of biomedical concepts. UMLS further provides facilities for natural language processing. It is intended to be used mainly by developers of systems in medical informatics.
  • ACH
    ACH - Air Changes per Hour, abbreviated ACPH or ACH, or air change rate is a measure of the air volume added to or removed from a space (normally a room or house) divided by the volume of the space. If the air in the space is either uniform or perfectly mixed, air changes per hour is a measure of how many times the air within a defined space is replaced.
  • ACHA
    ACHA is an acronym for The American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA), which provides board certification and professional development for architects who specialize in health care. ACHA requires its certificate holders to work toward the improvement of health care architecture.
    American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)
  • Active Solar
    Active solar energy systems use the same principles as passive systems except that they use a fluid (such as water) to absorb the heat.(1) Solar hot water systems use pumps or fans to circulate fluid or air, through solar collectors, and are therefore classified under Active Solar technology. Some of the basic benefits of active systems is that controls (usually electrical) can be used to maximize their effectiveness.
  • Acute
    Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care. Sudden but usually short (e.g., acute illness) (
  • AEC
    AEC is the acronym for Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC).
  • AIA
    AIA is an acronym for The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image.
  • Allergen
    Allergen: A substance that can cause an allergic reaction. Common allergens include ragweed pollen, animal dander, and mold. An allergen is a type of antigen that produces an abnormally vigorous immune response in which the immune system fights off a perceived threat that would otherwise be harmless to the body. Such reactions are called allergies. Sensitivities vary widely from one person (or from one animal) to another. A very broad range of substances can be allergens to sensitive individuals.
  • AMA
    AMA is an acronym for The American Medical Association (AMA), it is the largest association of physicians—both MDs and DOs—and medical students in the United States. Their purpose is "To Promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health".
  • Ambient Computing
    Ambient Computing also known as Ubiquitous computing (or "ubicomp") – is a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear anytime and everywhere. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format. This paradigm is also described as pervasive computing, ambient intelligence, or "everyware". "Ambient computing devices will operate invisibly in the background. They’ll identify, monitor and listen to us and respond to our perceived needs and habits."[1-computerworld-]
  • APA
    APA - The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the largest psychiatric organization in the world. Its some 38,800 members are mainly American but some are international. The association publishes various journals and pamphlets, as well as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM codifies psychiatric conditions and is used worldwide as a guide for diagnosing disorders.
  • Archeoastronomy
    Archeoastronomy (also spelled Archaeoastronomy ) is the interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary study of how people in the past "have understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures". [1] The branch of archaeology that deals with the apparent use by prehistoric civilizations of astronomical techniques to establish the seasons or the cycle of the year, especially as evidenced in the construction of megaliths and other ritual structures.[2]
  • Architectural Doctor
    The Architectural Doctor is a new concept that combines the focus of a Medical Doctor and that of an Architect to consider and evaluate how the built environment may be impacting the health of a patient/client.
  • Architectural Medicine
    The focus of Architectural Medicine is in researching the impact and influence that the built environment has on human health and well being – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  • Architectural Psychology
    Architectural Psychology is the study of interactions and interrelationships between humans (both individually and collectively) and their physical environment.
  • Architecture
    Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures.
  • Asbestos
    Asbestos: A natural material made up of tiny fibers that is used as thermal insulation. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to asbestosis and mesothelioma. (
  • Asbestosis
    Asbestosis: A condition featuring scarring of the lungs caused by inhaled asbestos fibers. Asbestosis is irreversible. Asbestosis can also lead to lung cancer or to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining on the surface of the lung. (
    ASHRAE is an acronym for The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). It is an American professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems design and construction.
  • Asthma
    Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narrow the airways, creating breathing difficulties that may range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. The diagnosis of asthma is based on evidence of wheezing and is confirmed with breathing tests. Many allergens and irritants can precipitate attacks of asthma. (
  • Autoimmune Disease
    An Autoimmune Disease is a condition arising from an abnormal immune response to a normal body part. Common symptoms include low grade fever and feeling tired. The cause is generally unknown. An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to "seek and destroy" invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues. Autoimmune diseases are more frequent in women than in men.
  • Autonomous Building
    An Autonomous Building is a building designed to be operated independently from infrastructural support services such as the electric power grid, gas grid, municipal water systems, sewage treatment systems, storm drains, communication services, and in some cases, public roads. Advocates of Autonomous Building describe advantages that include reduced environmental impacts, increased security, and lower costs of ownership.
  • Benign
    Benign: Not malignant. A benign tumor is one that does not invade surrounding tissue or spread to other parts of the body; it is not a cancer. (
  • Big Data
    Big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Current usage of the term big data tends to refer to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set.
  • BIM
    BIM is the acronym for Building Information Modeling (BIM). It is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.
  • Bioaerosols
    Bioaerosols (short for biological aerosols) are a subcategory of particles released from terrestrial and marine ecosystems into the atmosphere. They consist of both living and non-living components including organisms, dispersal methods of organisms, and excretions. The aerosolization of bacteria in dust contributes heavily to the transport of bacterial pathogens. Common sources of bioaerosols include soil, water, and sewage. Bioaerosols can transmit microbial pathogens, endotoxins, and allergens and can excrete both endotoxins and exotoxins. Exotoxins can be particularly dangerous when transported through the air and distribute pathogens to which humans are sensitive.
  • Bioinformatics
    Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data. As an interdisciplinary field of science, bioinformatics combines biology, computer science, information engineering, mathematics and statistics to analyze and interpret biological data.
  • Biology
    Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution.
  • Biopsy
    Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for cancer cells or other abnormalities. (
  • BRI
    BRI - is an acronym for Building Related Illness. Building-Related Illness is vital to the overall understanding of Sick Building Syndrome because BRI illustrates a causal path to infection, theoretically. As an example, in some cases, simply improving the indoor air quality (IAQ) of a particular building will attenuate, or even eliminate, the acute symptoms of SBS, while removal of the source contaminant would prove more effective for a specific illness, as in the case of BRI. BRI is often not an accepted term in many medical organizations.
  • Building
    A Building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a wide number of factors, from building materials available, to weather conditions, land prices, ground conditions, specific uses, and aesthetic reasons.
  • CAD
    CAD - is the acronym for Computer-Aided Design
    CAD, CAM and CAE are all related to the “Computer-Aided” processes of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering, respectively: Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)
  • CAE
    CAE - is the acronym for Computer-Aided Engineering
  • CAM
    CAM - is the acronym for Computer-Aided Manufacturing.
  • Cancer
    Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans. Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants.
  • CDC
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading national public health institute of the United States. Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability in the US and internationally. The CDC focuses national attention on developing and applying disease control and prevention. It especially focuses its attention on infectious disease, food borne pathogens, environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, injury prevention and educational activities designed to improve the health of United States citizens.
  • CHR
    CHR is an acronym for either Comprehensive Health Records (CHR) or a Community Health Record (CHR). The first is defined as "a solution that collects a comprehensive health data set generated by multiple sources." (1)  .The second terms "is a bit like an EHR and a personal health record. It has a few components of an EMR as well. In its essence, it is an attempt to utilize the Internet to enhance health care delivery and, eventually, health care status. It offers you medical data collected by health care providers across a metropolitan area." (2)
  • Chronic
    Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months or more. Chronic diseases are in contrast to those that are acute (abrupt, sharp, and brief) or subacute (within the interval between acute and chronic). (
  • CNC
    CNC - Is the acronym for Computer Numerical Control, which is the automated control of machining tools and 3D printers by means of a computer. A CNC machine is a motorized maneuverable tool and often a motorized maneuverable platform, which are both controlled by a computer, according to specific input instructions.
  • Construction
    Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. Construction starts with planning, design, and financing; it continues until the project is built and ready for use.
  • CT scan
    A CT scan or computed tomography scan (formerly computerized axial tomography scan or CAT scan) makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual "slices") of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting.
    DICOM - Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is the standard for the communication and management of medical imaging information and related data. DICOM is most commonly used for storing and transmitting medical images enabling the integration of medical imaging devices such as scanners, servers, workstations, printers, network hardware, and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) from multiple manufacturers. It has been widely adopted by hospitals and is making inroads into smaller applications like dentists' and doctors' offices.
  • Digital architecture
    Digital architecture has a few different definitions. One is that Digital architecture allows complex calculations that delimit architects and allow a diverse range of complex forms to be created with great ease using computer algorithms. Another is a terminology used to apply to digital skins that can stream images and have their appearance altered, such as a large facade on a building such as a giant TV screen.
  • Disease
    Disease: Illness or sickness characterized by specific signs and symptoms. A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of part or all of an organism, and that is not due to any external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions that are associated with specific symptoms and signs. A disease may be caused by external factors such as pathogens or by internal dysfunctions.The study of disease is called pathology, which includes the study of etiology, or cause. (
  • DSM
    DSM - The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (latest edition: the DSM-5, published in 2013) is a publication for the classification of mental disorders using a common language and standard criteria. The DSM codifies psychiatric conditions and is used worldwide as a guide for diagnosing disorders. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and is used by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers.
  • EBP
    An Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is any practice that relies on scientific evidence for guidance and decision-making. Research into the evidence-based practice of science is called metascience.
  • Ecology
    Ecology is a branch of biology that studies the interactions among organisms and their biophysical environment, which includes both biotic and abiotic components. Topics of interest include the biodiversity, distribution, biomass, and populations of organisms, as well as cooperation and competition within and between species.
  • Ecosystem
    An Ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system.
  • EHR
    An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the systematized collection of patient and population electronically-stored health information in a digital format. Records are shared through network-connected, enterprise-wide information systems or other information networks and exchanges. EHRs may include a range of data, including demographics, medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal statistics like age and weight, and billing information. EHR systems are designed to store data accurately and to capture the state of a patient across time. It eliminates the need to track down a patient's previous paper medical records and assists in ensuring data is accurate and legible.
  • EKG
    The Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a noninvasive test that is used to reflect underlying heart conditions by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. By positioning leads (electrical sensing devices) on the body in standardized locations, information about many heart conditions can be learned by looking for characteristic patterns on the EKG. (
  • EMF
    An electromagnetic field (EMF or EM field) is a magnetic field produced by moving electrically charged objects. The field can be viewed as the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field. The electric field is produced by stationary charges, and the magnetic field by moving charges (currents); these two are often described as the sources of the field.
  • EMR
    EMR is an acronym for Electronic Medical Record (EMR). It is often referred to as an Electronic Health Record (EHR).
  • Epidemiology
    Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.
  • Epidermis
    Epidermis: The upper or outer layer of the two main layers of cells that make up the skin. The epidermis is mostly made up of flat, scale-like cells called squamous cells. Under the squamous cells are round cells called basal cells. The deepest part of the epidermis also contains melanocytes. These cells produce melanin, which gives the skin its color.
  • Etiology
    Etiology: The study of causes, as in the causes of a disease. The form aetiology is generally used in the UK. (
    The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) is a decentralised agency of the European Union with the task of collecting, analysing and disseminating relevant information that can serve the needs of people involved in safety and health at work.
  • fMRI
    Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI) measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. This technique relies on the fact that cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation are coupled. When an area of the brain is in use, blood flow to that region also increases. Since the early 1990s, fMRI has come to dominate brain mapping research because it does not require people to undergo shots or surgery, to ingest substances, or to be exposed to ionising radiation.
  • Geothermal
    Geothermal power is power generated by geothermal energy. Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. Geothermal power stations are similar to other steam turbine thermal power stations in that heat from a fuel source (in geothermal's case, the Earth's core) is used to heat water or another working fluid. The working fluid is then used to turn a turbine of a generator, thereby producing electricity. The fluid is then cooled and returned to the heat source.
  • Green
    Green (also referred to as eco-friendly, nature-friendly, environmentally friendly or environment-friendly) are sustainability and marketing terms referring to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies that claim reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment.
  • Health
    Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent.
    HIMSS is the acronym for The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). It is an American not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care in quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access through the best use of information technology and management systems.
  • HIT
    HIT is an acronym for Health Information Technology (HIT). It is information technology applied to health and health care. It supports health information management across computerized systems and the secure exchange of health information between consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors.
  • Holistic
    Holistic or Holism is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. It may also be spelled "wholism", and it may be contrasted with reductionism or atomism. In the context of holistic medicine, "holism" refers to treating all aspects of a person's health, including psychological and cultural factors, rather than only his/her physical conditions or symptoms.
  • HVAC
    HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). It is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality.
  • Hydroelectricity
    Hydroelectricity is electricity made by generators that are pushed by movement of water. It is usually made with dams that block a river to make a reservoir or collect water that is pumped there. When the water is released, the pressure behind the dam forces the water down pipes that lead to a turbine. This causes the turbine to turn, which turns a generator which makes electricity.
  • Hypertension
    Hypertension: Also known as high blood pressure is, by definition, a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 or a diastolic pressure above 90. (
  • Hypotension
    Hypotension: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a given environment. Hypotension is the opposite of hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure). (
  • IAQ
    IAQ - Is the acronym Indoor Air Quality, and is defined as the air quality within and around buildings and structures. IAQ is known to affect the health, comfort and well-being of building occupants.
  • ICD
    ICD - The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a globally used diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. The ICD is maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations System. The ICD is originally designed as a health care classification system, providing a system of diagnostic codes for classifying diseases, including nuanced classifications of a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease.
  • Immune System
    The Immune System is a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism's own healthy tissue. Disorders of the immune system can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections.
  • Inpatient
    Inpatient: A patient whose care requires a stay in a hospital. As opposed to an outpatient. A plan to stay overnight for one or more days. (
  • Insulation
    Building insulation is any object in a building used as insulation for any purpose. While the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation. Thermal insulation usually refers to the use of appropriate insulation materials and design adaptations for buildings to slow the transfer of heat through the enclosure to reduce heat loss and gain. The transfer of heat is caused by the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors.
  • LCA
    LCA - is and acronym for Life Cycle Assessment. Life-cycle assessment is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. LCA ia also known as life-cycle analysis, ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave/cradle-to-cradle analysis.
  • Lesion
    Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serious. Wound, sore, or cut.
  • Life Sciences
    The life sciences or biological sciences comprise the branches of science that involve the scientific study of life and organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, and animals including human beings. By definition, biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, with the other life sciences being its sub-disciplines. Life sciences discoveries are helpful in improving the quality and standard of life, and have applications in health, agriculture, medicine, and the pharmaceutical and food science industries.
    LOINC - Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) is a database and universal standard for identifying medical laboratory observations. Since its inception, the database has expanded to include not just medical laboratory code names but also nursing diagnosis, nursing interventions, outcomes classification, and patient care data sets. First developed in 1994, it was created and is maintained by the Regenstrief Institute, a US nonprofit medical research organization.
  • Malignant
    Malignant: Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in malignant hypertension. Cancerous. (
    MBD or DPD is an acronym for Model-Based Definition (MBD) or Digital Product Definition (DPD). In MBD, the information captured by the CAD software app is fed automatically into a CAM app (computer-aided manufacturing), which (with or without postprocessing apps) creates code in other languages such as G-code to be executed by a CNC machine tool (computer numerical control), 3D printer, or (increasingly) a hybrid machine tool that uses both.
  • MCS
    MCS or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity was defined in a 2017 scientific review as "a complex syndrome that manifests as a result of exposure to a low level of various common contaminants." Chemicals that are common triggers for MCS symptoms include pesticides, petrochemicals, formaldehyde and perfumed products. MCS is not recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, or by several other professional medical organizations. It is also known as Idiopathic Environmental Intolerances (IEI) and Environmental Sensitivities/Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (ES/MCS),
  • Medical Imaging
    Medical Imaging is the technique and process of creating visual representations of the interior of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention, as well as visual representation of the function of some organs or tissues (physiology). Medical imaging seeks to reveal internal structures hidden by the skin and bones, as well as to diagnose and treat disease. Medical imaging also establishes a database of normal anatomy and physiology to make it possible to identify abnormalities.
  • Medicine
    Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness.
  • Mesothelioma
    Mesothelioma: A malignant tumor of the mesothelium, the thin lining of the surface of the body cavities and the organs that are contained within them. Most mesotheliomas begin as one or more nodules that progressively grow to form a solid coating of tumor surrounding the lung, abdominal organs, or heart. Mesothelioma occurs most commonly in the chest cavity and is associated with exposure to asbestos in up to 90 percent of cases. (
  • Microbiology
    Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, those being unicellular (single cell), multicellular (cell colony), or acellular (lacking cells). Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including virology, parasitology, mycology and bacteriology.
  • Mold
    Mold: One of a large group of fungi that can proliferate on food or in moist areas. Household mold is a common trigger for allergies. Stachybotrys chartarum also known as black mold or toxic black mold, is a variety of mold most often detected in cellulose-rich building materials from damp or water-damaged buildings. The CDC reported that when mold spores are present in abnormally high quantities, they can present especially hazardous health risks to humans after prolonged exposure, including allergic reactions or poisoning by mycotoxins, or causing fungal infection (mycosis).
  • MRI
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, magnetic field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. MRI does not involve X-rays or the use of ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT or CAT scans and PET scans. While the hazards of X-rays are now well controlled in most medical contexts, an MRI scan may still be seen as a better choice than a CT scan. MRI is widely used in hospitals and clinics for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and follow-up without exposing the body to radiation.
  • Mycotoxin
    A Mycotoxin (from the Greek μύκης mykes, "fungus" and τοξικόν toxikon, "poison") is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungus kingdom and is capable of causing disease and death in both humans and other animals. The term 'mycotoxin' is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops. Examples of mycotoxins causing human and animal illness include aflatoxin, citrinin, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, zearalenone, and ergot alkaloids such as ergotamine.
  • Mycotoxins
    A Mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungus kingdom and is capable of causing disease and death in both humans and other animals. The term 'mycotoxin' is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops. One mold species may produce many different mycotoxins, and several species may produce the same mycotoxin.
  • Neuromorphic Architecture
    Neuromorphic Architecture: the use of brain operating principles to quantify and enhance the intelligence of the built environment, adjust systems behavior and signal human intervention (
  • NIH
    NIH - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research. It was founded in the late 1880s and is now part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH conducts its own scientific research through its Intramural Research Program (IRP) and provides major biomedical research funding to non-NIH research facilities through its Extramural Research Program.
    National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • NLM
    NLM - The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), operated by the United States federal government, is the world's largest medical library. The NLM is an institute within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its collections include more than seven million books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, photographs, and images on medicine and related sciences, including some of the world's oldest and rarest works.
  • Nomenclature
    Nomenclature is a system of names or terms, or the rules for forming these terms in a particular field of arts or sciences. A system of names used in a particular discipline, as in medicine and architecture. (
  • Noninvasive
    Noninvasive: Doesn’t require entering the body with instruments. Diagnostic techniques that do not involve the puncturing of the skin or incision, or the introduction into the body of foreign objects or materials, are known as non-invasive procedures.
  • OSH
    Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or workplace health and safety (WHS), is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. These terms also refer to the goals of this field, so their use in the sense of this article was originally an abbreviation of occupational safety and health program/department etc.
  • OSHA
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. OSHA's mission is to "assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance". The agency is also charged with enforcing a variety of whistleblower statutes and regulations. OSHA's workplace safety inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and injury costs without adverse effects to employment, sales, credit ratings, or firm survival.
  • OSI
    OSI  - The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a conceptual model that characterises and standardises the communication functions of a telecommunication or computing system without regard to its underlying internal structure and technology. Its goal is the interoperability of diverse communication systems with standard communication protocols. The model partitions a communication system into abstraction layers.
  • Outpatient
    Outpatient: A patient who is not hospitalized, but instead comes to a physician's office, clinic, or day surgery office for treatment. Check in and check out the same day. (
  • PACS
    PACS - Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) is a medical imaging technology which provides economical storage and convenient access to images from multiple modalities (source machine types). Electronic images and reports are transmitted digitally via PACS; this eliminates the need to manually file, retrieve, or transport film jackets, the folders used to store and protect X-ray film. The universal format for PACS image storage and transfer is DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine). Non-image data, such as scanned documents, may be incorporated using consumer industry standard formats like PDF (Portable Document Format), once encapsulated in DICOM.
  • Parametric design
    Parametric design is a process based on algorithmic thinking that enables the expression of parameters and rules that, together, define, encode and clarify the relationship between design intent and design response. It is often connected with curving designs, from the analogue designs of Antonio Gaudi and Eero Saarinen to the digitally processed flowing shapes of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.
  • Particulates
    Particulates –  are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the air. They have impacts on climate and precipitation that adversely affect human health, in addition to direct inhalation. The IARC and WHO designate airborne particulates a Group 1 carcinogen. Particulates are the most harmful form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and blood streams unfiltered, causing heart attacks, respiratory disease, and premature death. Particulates are also known as atmospheric aerosol particles, atmospheric particulate matter, particulate matter (PM), or suspended particulate matter (SPM). The term aerosol commonly refers to the particulate/air mixture, as opposed to the particulate matter alone.
  • Passive Solar
    In Passive Solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, reflect, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it does not involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices. The key to designing a passive solar building is to best take advantage of the local climate performing an accurate site analysis.
  • Pathogenesis
    Pathogenesis of a disease is the biological mechanism (or mechanisms) progress of disease showing its morphological features or that leads to the diseased state. The term can also describe the origin and development of the disease, and whether it is acute, chronic, or recurrent. The word comes from the Greek πάθος pathos ("suffering", "disease") and γένεσις genesis ("creation").
  • Pathogens
    In biology, a Pathogen in the oldest and broadest sense, is anything that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a germ. The scientific study of microscopic organisms, including microscopic pathogenic organisms, is called microbiology, while the study of disease that may include these pathogens is called pathology.
  • Pathology
    Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word pathology also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. However, when used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a more narrow fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of "general pathology", an area which includes a number of distinct but inter-related medical specialties that diagnose disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell, and body fluid samples. Pathology is a significant field in modern medical diagnosis and medical research.
  • Performance-Based Building Design
    Performance-Based Building Design is an approach to the design of any complexity of building. A building constructed in this way is required to meet certain measurable or predictable performance requirements, such as energy efficiency or seismic load, without a specific prescribed method by which to attain those requirements. This is in contrast to traditional prescribed building codes, which mandate specific construction practices, such as stud size and distance between studs in wooden frame construction. Such an approach provides the freedom to develop tools and methods to evaluate the entire life cycle of the building process, from the business dealings, to procurement, through construction and the evaluation of results.
  • Phenomenology
    Phenomenology is both a current aspect of philosophy influencing contemporary architecture and a field of academic research into the experience of built space and of building materials in their sensory aspects.
  • PHR
    PHR is an acronym for Personal Health Record (PHR). It is a health record where health data and other information related to the care of a patient is maintained by the patient. This stands in contrast to the more widely used Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Health Record (EHR), which is operated by institutions (such as hospitals) and contains data entered by clinicians (such as billing data) to support insurance claims. The intention of a PHR is to provide a complete and accurate summary of an individual's medical history which is accessible online.
  • PLM
    PLM is an acronym for Product Lifecycle Management. In industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products.
  • Pollutants
    A Pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource. A pollutant may cause long- or short-term damage by changing the growth rate of plant or animal species, or by interfering with human amenities, comfort, health, or property values.
  • Public Health
    Public Health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the health of a population and the threats it faces is the basis for public health.
  • Photovoltaics
    Photovoltaics (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry. A photovoltaic system employs solar modules, each comprising a number of solar cells, which generate electrical power. PV installations may be ground-mounted, rooftop mounted, wall mounted or floating. The mount may be fixed or use a solar tracker to follow the sun across the sky.
  • Radiant Heating
    Radiant heating are temperature-controlled surfaces that exchange heat with their surrounding environment through convection and radiation. It refers to panels or embedded building components (floors, ceilings or walls). It contrasts with other heating types including air-based and electrical systems (which use electrical resistance for heating purpose mainly). Important portions of building surfaces are usually required for the radiant exchange.
  • Renewable Energy
    Renewable Energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.
  • Rewilding
    Rewilding is large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species. The ultimate goal of rewilding efforts is to create ecosystems requiring passive management by limiting human control of ecosystems. Rewilding projects may require ecological restoration or wilderness engineering, particularly to restore connectivity between fragmented protected areas, and reintroduction of predators and keystone species where extirpated.
  • RxNorm
    RxNorm - is US-specific terminology in medicine that contains all medications available on the US market. It can also be used in personal health records applications. RxNorm is part of Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) terminology and is maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM)
  • SAD
    SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), formally referred to as recurrent depression with seasonal pattern, is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is believed that affected people react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures as the fall and winter progress. (
  • SBS
    SBS - is an acronym for Sick Building Syndrome, and is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. The symptoms tend to increase in severity with the time people spend in the building, and improve over time or even disappear when people are away from the building. The main identifying observation is an increased incidence of complaints of symptoms such as headache, eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, and dizziness and nausea. These symptoms appear to be linked to time spent in a building, though no specific illness or cause can be identified. SBS is also used interchangeably with "building-related symptoms", which orients the name of the condition around patients rather than a "sick" building.
  • Silicosis
    Silicosis is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust. It is marked by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs. It is a type of pneumoconiosis. Silicosis (particularly the acute form) is characterized by shortness of breath, cough, fever, and cyanosis (bluish skin).
  • SIP
    SIP is an acronym for Structural Insulated Panels. SIP is a sandwich structured composite, consisting of an insulating layer of rigid core sandwiched between two layers of structural board, used as a building material. The board can be that of sheet metal, plywood, cement, magnesium oxide board (MgO) or oriented strand board (OSB), and the core can be products such as expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) or be composite honeycomb (HSC). SIPs share the same structural properties as an I-beam or I-column. The rigid insulation core of the SIP acts as a web, while the sheathing fulfills the function of the flanges.
    SNOMED - The Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) is a systematic, computer-processable collection of medical terms, in human and veterinary medicine, to provide codes, terms, synonyms and definitions which cover anatomy, diseases, findings, procedures, microorganisms, substances, etc. It allows a consistent way to index, store, retrieve, and aggregate medical data across specialties and sites of care.
  • Sociobiology
    Sociobiology is a field of biology that aims to examine and explain social behavior in terms of evolution. It draws from disciplines including psychology, ethology, anthropology, evolution, zoology, archaeology, and population genetics. It argues that just as selection pressure led to animals evolving useful ways of interacting with the natural environment, so also it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior.
  • Solar Collector
    The term "Solar Collector" commonly refers to a device for solar hot water heating, but may refer to large power generating installations such as solar parabolic troughs and solar towers or non water heating devices such as solar air heaters. A Solar Thermal Collector collects heat by absorbing sunlight. Solar thermal collectors are either non-concentrating or concentrating.
  • Sustainability
    Sustainability is the ability to exist constantly. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for the biosphere and human civilization to coexist. It is also defined as the process of people maintaining change in a homeostasis balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.
  • Technology
    The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. Technology is the sum of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings.
  • Thermal Mass
    Scientifically, thermal mass is equivalent to thermal capacitance or heat capacity, the ability of a body to store thermal energy. In building design, thermal mass is a property of the mass of a building which enables it to store heat. For example, when outside temperatures are fluctuating throughout the day, a large thermal mass within the insulated portion of a house can serve to "flatten out" the daily temperature fluctuations, since the thermal mass will absorb thermal energy when the surroundings are higher in temperature than the mass, and give thermal energy back when the surroundings are cooler, without reaching thermal equilibrium.
  • Thermography
    Thermography is a non-invasive technology that can show imaging of temperature ranges in buildings that can help in energy analysis, as well as medical imaging analysis. Devices show graphic images (thermograms) of temperature differences in color coded zones, to measure heat loss and air leakage in a building envelope, and even areas of insufficient insulation, which can be helpful in an energy audit. Areas of moisture that may lead to leaks and structural damage can be located based on apparent temperature differences. Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal imaging, and thermal video are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermographic cameras usually detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 9,000–14,000 nanometers or 9–14 µm) and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms.
  • Timber Frame
    Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are traditional methods of building with heavy timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. It is commonplace in wooden buildings through the 19th century. The method comes from working directly from logs and trees rather than pre-cut dimensional lumber. Since this building method has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world, many styles of historic framing have developed.
  • Tooltip
    A Tooltip is used on this website as a Glossary reference and is a word that has an underscore, which will show a definition or "tip" when you hover over the word.
  • Toxic Mold
    Stachybotrys chartarum also known as black mold or toxic black mold, is a variety of mold most often detected in cellulose-rich building materials from damp or water-damaged buildings. Stachybotrys chartarum (previously known as S. atra) and S. chlorohalonata, are known as "black mold" or toxic black mold are frequently associated with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials. Stachybotrys chemotypes are toxic, with one producing trichothecene mycotoxins including satratoxins, and another that produces atranones.  
  • Toxicology
    Toxicology is a scientific discipline, overlapping with biology, chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine, that involves the study of the adverse effects of chemical substances on living organisms and the practice of diagnosing and treating exposures to toxins and toxicants.
  • Ubiquitous Computing
    Ubiquitous computing (or "ubicomp") also known as Ambient Computing – is a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear anytime and everywhere. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format. This paradigm is also described as pervasive computing, ambient intelligence, or "everyware". "Ambient computing devices will operate invisibly in the background. They’ll identify, monitor and listen to us and respond to our perceived needs and habits."[1-computerworld-]
  • Ultrasound
    Ultrasonic devices are used to detect objects and measure distances. Ultrasound imaging or sonography is often used in medicine. In the nondestructive testing of products and structures, ultrasound is used to detect invisible flaws. Industrially, ultrasound is used for cleaning, mixing, and accelerating chemical processes. Ultrasound is sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing. Ultrasound is not different from "normal" (audible) sound in its physical properties, except that humans cannot hear it.  
  • Urban Sprawl
    Urban sprawl or suburban sprawl mainly refers to the unrestricted growth in many urban areas of housing, commercial development, and roads over large expanses of land, with little concern for urban planning. In addition to describing a particular form of urbanization, the term also relates to the social and environmental consequences associated with this development. The term urban sprawl is highly politicized and almost always has negative connotations. It is criticized for causing environmental degradation, intensifying segregation, and undermining the vitality of existing urban areas and is attacked on aesthetic grounds.
  • VOC
    VOC (or VOCs) is an acronym for Volatile Organic Compounds and are defined as organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. They include both human-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds. Most scents or odors are of VOCs. Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment. Anthropogenic VOCs are regulated by law, especially indoors, where concentrations are the highest. Harmful VOCs typically are not acutely toxic, but have compounding long-term health effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, research into VOCs and their effects is difficult. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air, a trait known as volatility.
  • Wearables
    Wearables also known as Wearable computers or body-borne computers, are small computing devices (nowadays usually electronic) that are worn under, with, or on top of clothing. The definition of 'wearable computer' may be narrow or broad, extending to smartphones or even ordinary wristwatches. Wearables may be for general use or alternatively they may be for specialized purposes such as fitness trackers. They may incorporate special sensors such as accelerometers, thermometer and heart rate monitors.
  • (WHO)
    WHO - is an acronym for The World Health Organization (WHO), and is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organization, was an agency of the League of Nations.
  • Wind Power
    Wind power or wind energy is the use of wind to provide the mechanical power through wind turbines to turn electric generators and traditionally to do other work, like milling or pumping. Wind power is a sustainable and renewable energy, and has a much smaller impact on the environment compared to burning fossil fuels.
  • X-ray
    X-rays make up X-radiation, a form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. X-ray wavelengths are shorter than those of UV rays and typically longer than those of gamma rays. Since Röntgen's discovery that X-rays can identify bone structures, X-rays have been used for medical imaging. High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used in low doses to make images that help to diagnose diseases and in high doses to treat cancer. (
  • Zero-Energy Building
    A Zero-Energy Building (ZE), also known as a zero net energy (ZNE) building, net-zero energy building (NZEB). A net zero building is a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or in other definitions by renewable energy sources offsite. In some cases these buildings consequently contribute less overall greenhouse gas to the atmosphere during operations than similar non-ZNE buildings.