Ways in Which Buildings Can Care for and Promote Public Health

20.09.21 02:57 PM By Shannon

Ways in Which Buildings Can Care for and Promote Public Health

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Advisory Council has released its Moving Forward 2020 report, expressing the importance of healthy buildings. The brief discusses ways in which buildings can care for and promote public health.

In this respect, they describe healthy buildings according to three components: indoor environmental quality, the importance of design to promote health, and the promotion of knowledge transfer between building owners and public health officials.

Recommendations include the following:

✔ The Administration, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and other relevant federal agencies should increase investment into critical research on the impacts of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and resilience on health and productivity. Of particular importance is research into how retrofits to the nation’s existing building stock can be used to improve IEQ.

✔ Federal agencies, including DOE, NIST, EPA, General Services Administration (GSA), and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), should support research aimed at identifying improvements to building codes and other criteria that can provide cost-effective approaches to enhanced building performance. This should include opportunities to shorten the regulatory and code development process and enable it to be more anticipatory of current and future disruptions to public health.

✔ Congress, the US Department of Transportation. HUD, DOE, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and EPA, with input from community organizations, advocates, and the private sector, should identify and enact policies, including incentive programs, encourage building owners and operators to invest in critical activities that promote a healthy IEQ. Clean water, healthy, high-performance buildings, clean indoor and outdoor air, and fair and equitable access to healthy and resilient places are critical components of our nation’s infrastructure. There should be a particular incentive to support improvements in disadvantaged communities or populations affected by faults in existing structures, those built with hazardous or toxic materials, or with unsafe living or working conditions for occupants.

Read the full report here: