Adele Houghton

Adele HoughtonAdele Houghton, ’23
From: Houston, TX
Degrees Held: M.Arch, Rice University
MPH, Johns Hopkins University
Email: ahoughton@hsph.harvard.edu


A registered architect and green building professional, Adele works at the intersection of public health, climate change, and the built environment. Her research investigates the gap between the goals of local climate change and chronic disease policies, on the one hand, and the priorities of individual building project teams on the other.

Adele graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with an AB in Architecture and Urbanism and subsequently received a Master of Architecture from Rice University. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health, she was inducted into the Delta Omega Honor Society, Alpha Chapter.

She began her career as a green building consultant in a commercial architecture firm in Houston, Texas. In 2005, she joined the Green Guide for Health Care, the first best practices toolkit in the U.S. to take a health-centric approach to green building design and operations. She founded Biositu, LLC, in 2008 to expand this approach beyond the health care sector. Biositu, LLC is a strategic consulting company dedicated to leveraging environmental sustainability to enhance community health.

Adele is currently co-authoring a book, Architectural Epidemiology, which lays out a methodology for designing and operating buildings that respond to the specific environmental and human health needs of their occupants and the surrounding community.

She has joined the DrPH Program with the goal of building a community of practice within the fields of design, development, and facility management dedicated to using green and healthy building principles as a means towards accelerating action on climate change and chronic disease reduction.


Student News and Publications

October 2021
Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, wrote an article titled “‘Soft Infrastructure’ Is Crucial for a Post-Carbon World” for Common Edge magazine. The article makes the case for centering US climate action on buildings in their context because buildings are the place where climate change, health, and social equity meet everyday life.

Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, presented her topic, “Western Hills Viaduct Project: Community Health Considerations” for AIA Cincinnati. Her presentation looked at the potential social and environmental impacts of a viaduct reconstruction project in Cincinnati, OH, as well as opportunities to use design and social programs to minimize potential co-harms and maximize potential co-benefits to health.

Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, presented her topic, “Architectural Epidemiology – A new method for leveraging building design and operations to influence community health outcomes” at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Her presentation proposes a new epidemiological theory that uses architecture and allied disciplines in the real estate industry as a mechanism for interventions addressing the health effects of climate change and chronic disease.

Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, presented her topic, “The Role of Building Design in Reducing the Risk of Human Exposure to Air Pollution –  Systematic Review of the Literature” at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Her presentation shares result from a systematic literature review of the evidence identifying architectural design strategies that can be protective against exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, co-moderated the “Climate and Health Roundtable Hosted by APHA Intersectional Council Committee on Climate Change and Health” at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. The goal of the roundtable was to amplify research on climate change and health across the entire APHA membership and foster multi-disciplinary collaboration and engagement.

July 2021
Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, conducted a Q&A that was published in Common Edge involving an article she wrote for the Harvard Public Health Review titled, “How a Small Set of Strategies Can Benefit the Greatest Number of Outcomes“.

June 2021
Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, wrote an article for Harvard Public Health Review titled “‘Co-Benefits’ as a Lens Through Which COVID-19 Building Upgrades Can Advance Environmental Sustainability, Climate Mitigation, and Adaptation, and Social Equity“.

May 2021
Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, presented her topic, “Learning from COVID: Green Building Through the Lens of ‘Co-Benefits’” for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This session will introduce the public health concept of “co-benefits” – the idea that a single set of strategies can be designed to benefit multiple outcomes.

April 2021
Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, wrote an article titled “Bring the Outside In”  for Connection, the Young Architects Forum magazine through the American Institute of Architects. The article discusses the importance of architects’ delivering designs that reflect and amplify neighborhood-scale goals for promoting resilience, equity, and health.

Adele Houghton, DrPH ’23, wrote an article titled “This Earth Day, Lets #RemodelforResilience”  in Climate for Health which asks how public health can be centered in designing.