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Greenbuild 2013: The built environment and human health

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As design professionals, we know that a sustainable built environment can be a game-changer not only for the positive environmental and economic benefits, but also for the human experience .

At USGBC, we know that LEED buildings can have a positive, measurable impact on human health, wellness and occupant experience—but given the rising global challenge of human health, it is now time to move from anecdotal evidence to intentional action linked to thoughtful evaluation. It's time to bridge the public health and design community and benefit from evidenced-based and citizen science research, while advancing solutions for tomorrow's challenges today.

At this year's Greenbuild, we have a robust agenda for architects, designers, product manufacturers and other industry leaders exploring these public health and design opportunities. Our must-see programs include Tuesday's pre-conference summit on Materials and Health, which will directly engage marketplace leaders on how safer, healthier materials in our built environment have positive benefits on human health. Thursday's Master Speaker session—Health Matters.  And Green Building Can Help—features renowned public health expert Dr. Richard Jackson (UCLA), and an engaging and dynamic discussion moderated by Metropolis' Susan Szenasy.  

The global spotlight on human health and well-being has never shined as brightly as it does today. Obesity and diabetes diagnosis’ continue to mount, links between diseases and exposures to chemicals in our built environment are known and increasing, and sitting for extended periods of time is doing as much harm—if not more—than smoking tobacco. These challenges we face are balanced with the medical community’s call for greater exercise and healthier diets along with technology; apps on our smartphones or electronic wrist bracelets that help us make more informed choices about how to improve our health. In so many ways, "health" has become the new "green" in the consumer and product marketplace. And it’s not by accident, or without urgency. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a staggering seven out of ten deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases and that one in every three adults is obese and almost one in five youths between the ages of six and nineteen is obese. An underlying factor within this is increasing rates of physical inactivity. Even more disturbing, in many areas of our built environment, physical activity has been consciously engineered out of our daily lives. 

That’s why this Greenbuild discussion is so important, and why we hope to see you there!

Looking forward to seeing you at Greenbuild. Register today.

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    Roger Limoges made 1 contribution in the last 6 months

Roger Limoges

Senior Vice President, Organizational Design; Project Manager, William Jefferson Clinton Children's Center, Port au Prince, Haiti; Director, HealthBuild U.S. Green Building Council

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