Omics research describes efforts to understand the totalityof a given research field, currently best exemplified by genomics research and the ambitious undertaking of the Human Genome Project. This has spurred a set of related –omics research areas: transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics. And, in the field of exposure science, the relatively new and equally challenging efforts to characterize the totality of human exposures over the course of a person’s lifetime – the exposome.
We now propose “buildingomics” to capture the complexity of the research of health in buildings. Buildingomics is the totality of factors in the building-related environment that influence human health, well-being and productivity of people who work in those buildings.
The goal of introducing Buildingomics is not to increase complexity. In fact, it is the opposite. As Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” We are currently on the near side of complexity, largely operating in the simple silos of our various fields. The goal of Buildingomics is the identification of the factors of the building-environment that influence occupant health, well-being and productivity. We achieve this by first embracing complexity and ultimately arrive at simplicity at the far side, which is elegance. Much in the way that genomics has helped us understand which genes are responsible for specific cancers, Buildingomics leaves open the possibility of discovery of new relationships between our buildings and our health – relationships that we simply don’t have the knowledge to even conceive of at this time, but which will become evident once the data exist.