Healthy Buildings

My work centers around the belief that we have to force a collision between two disciplines: building science and health science. To that end, I founded the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. One of the first goals of the program was to synthesize 30 years of public health science into identifying what it is that makes a building “healthy.” We summarize our findings in the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building report.

The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building circle logoThe 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building report cover

I also cowrote Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity (Harvard University Press; 2020) with John Macomber. Building on the mission of the Healthy Buildings Program, we combined our expertise in the fields of public health, urban resilience, commercial real estate, and building science to show the impact buildings have on our health and performance, and how every indoor environment can be made healthier for the people inside.

Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity

“Cutting through the jargon to explain complex processes in simple and compelling language, Allen and Macomber show how buildings can both expose you to and protect you from disease. They reveal the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building, share insider tips, and show how tracking what they call “health performance indicators” with smart technology can boost a company’s performance and create economic value. With decades of practice in protecting worker health, they offer a clear way forward right now, and show us what comes next in a post-COVID world. While the “green” building movement introduced important new efficiencies, it’s time to look beyond the four walls—placing the decisions we make around buildings into the larger conversation around development and health, and prioritizing the most important and vulnerable asset of any building: its people.” – Harvard University Press

What Makes an Office Building “Healthy”

Harvard Business Review: “the authors suggest a framework companies can deploy to keep people safe without crippling their businesses and our economy, as well as a series of health performance indicators to measure their progress.”

SCIENCE: paradigm shift to combat indoor respiratory infection

“We need to establish the foundations to ensure that the air in our buildings is clean…just as we expect for the water coming out of our taps.”