Our goal is to improve the lives of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day.

Our vision is to improve the lives of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day. To think about how this works, imagine a world where building facilities managers are as important to human health as primary care physicians. It may sound improbable, but we believe in the power of built environments to be truly transformational public health tools – and research has proven it.

The Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard is the embodiment of this vision. Our work there has led to groundbreaking results covering everything from the cognitive benefits of healthy buildings to factors comprising healthy homes to the importance of healthy schools. And ultimately, we’re taking the science of healthier buildings and applying it to optimize health in the real world by bringing building science, health science and business science together.

Joe Allen giving a presentation during Healthy Buildings Day


We take a multi-disciplinary approach to our work because healthy buildings and their impact are multi-faceted concepts. More specifically, there are many factors that make up a healthy building. With this in mind, the Healthy Buildings Team created the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building as a standardized, holistic approach to understanding how buildings impact the people inside them, with health as the most important KPI.

We call this approach Buildingomics. Buildingomics analyzes the totality of factors in the built environment that influence human health, well-being and productivity of people who work in those buildings. Through Buildingomics, we can better understand and apply strategies that unlock the ability to optimize buildings for cognitive function and health.

Our Research Group

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach requires a team with expertise across various aspects of building science, health science, business science and other fields. With the Healthy Buildings Program, we bring together these experts to holistically examine the factors that make up a healthy building and the overall impact of those factors on human health, productivity and even the economics of buildings and businesses.

Our group is also acutely focused on how the work we do can be applied in the real world. It starts by exploring how we can use our findings to optimize processes and environments here on the Harvard campus. And through the 9 Foundations of Healthy Buildings, we partner with private businesses and work with executives to explore how to customize strategic approaches to healthy environments that are rooted in our science and based on unique health performance indicators.

More About the Team

A photo montage of the Healthy Buildings research group

The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building

The Basics of
Building Performance

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.

Learn More About 9 Foundations

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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