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Mandating Indoor Air Quality for Public Buildings: A Vital Public Health Strategy

COVID-19, Healthy Buildings, Healthy Schools, Healthy Workplaces

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a fundamental yet frequently underestimated aspect of public health, especially highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This often-neglected facet impacts health, productivity, and learning. In an article published in SCIENCE, 40+ international experts, including Professor Joseph Allen, Director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings program, call for national IAQ standards and provide a roadmap for healthier indoor spaces. In this blog, we provide three key takeaways from our perspective...

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News and Research
January 31, 2023 | Charter in partnership with TIME online

The Business Case for Better Air Quality

View Article
February 20, 2024 | Thrive Global

Our Global Chemical Experiment

9 Foundations, Healthy Buildings, Healthy Homes View Article
January 11, 2024 | NEA Today

Is Your School Building Making You Sick?

Healthy Buildings, Healthy Schools View Article
November 20, 2023 | The New York Times

Why We’re Still Breathing Dirty Indoor Air

Climate, COVID-19, Healthy Buildings, Healthy Homes View Article

What is a Healthy Building?

In the simplest of terms, a healthy building is one with an indoor environment that is optimized to positively impact the health, well-being and productivity of its occupants. To achieve this, buildings must strive to meet a number of foundational criteria – nine, to be specific, – which cover everything from ventilation and air quality to lighting, views and physical security.

But ultimately, the bigger question isn’t around what makes a building healthy – it’s about the impact healthy buildings can have on the world. Whether in homes, schools or offices, the way we design, maintain and operate buildings can either aid or harm our health. The concept of healthy buildings focuses on the effects of built environments on both individual and public health, and the role they can play in addressing some of our most pressing global challenges.


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The Healthy Buildings Movement

Our program aims to harness the power of research, business collaboration, and commonsense messaging to advance solutions for human health within the built environment. The team creates user-friendly tools, resources, guides, and calculators to empower people to apply the latest research on healthy building solutions to their everyday lives.

Learn More About our Research and Explore the Latest Tools at forhealth.org

The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building

Wondering what it takes to make a healthy building? It starts with a few simple criteria. Created by Harvard’s healthy building experts, the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building outlines health performance indicators, offering a clear and actionable distillation of the core elements of healthy indoor environments.

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The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building

The future of healthy buildings must be one where they are the norm, not the exception. Health cannot and should not be a luxury item, afforded to only those that can afford it. This applies to healthcare, working conditions, access to food, and, yes, the buildings where we live, work, play, pray, and heal.
JOSEPH ALLEN, DSC, MPH, CIH, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program
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Our goal is to improve the lives of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day.
A healthy building is a human right.

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