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Greenbuilders: Taking on Health and the Built Environment

Published on Posted in Industry

It’s great to be back at Greenbuild!

Through this year’s agenda, USGBC is courageously leading a rapidly emerging conversation in our industry: How can the places we build and operate contribute to the health and wellbeing of the people who work and live there. It makes sense, right? We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, so it follows that our homes, offices, and schools would have a profound impact on us.

It’s an important point of inflection for our market and our movement. Historically, sustainability has focused on the impact that buildings have on our climate and environment. Bringing wellness into the conversation adds a new emphasis on the individual, and opens up the field for research and development.

As Paul Scialla, the founder of Delos, also points out, bringing wellness into real estate also merges the largest asset class in the world (real estate) with the fastest growing industry in the world (health and wellness), creating an enormous opportunity for purpose-focused innovation and growth.

Delos is defining wellness real estate through their work with scientists and physicians at leading research institutions such as Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic. The evidence-based standard they’re pioneering – the WELL Building Standard® – will give the industry a performance benchmark for contributing to occupant health, from lighting and air quality to materials and monitoring. Very importantly, it works in harmony with LEED, building on USGBC’s commitment and leadership.

So the next time you see a beautiful architectural photo of an empty building, imagine all the people who actually work or live there every day – little kids at school, aging parents enjoying retirement, and all of us on the job. If there are ten ways, or if there are one hundred ways, we can build and operate those buildings to enhance our health and wellbeing, it’s worth at least a look.

Michelle Moore recently joined Delos as a strategic advisor following four years leading sustainability and infrastructure policy in the Obama White House. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President with USGBC. [Michelle is a member of Groundswell’s Advisory Council, and a Senior Fellow with the Council on Competitiveness.]


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