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Health is a human right — green building can help

Published on Written by Posted in LEED

Today we released “Health is a Human Right. Green Building Can Help,” a report from USGBC’s Green Building & Human Health Summit earlier this year that explores ways to promote and protect human health in relation to the built environment. More than 100 people contributed to the robust conversation, and we’ve attempted to summarize their thoughtful comments here. It also includes a snapshot of what is already under way and captures ideas for some action plans we need to develop to move this important agenda forward.

Buildings are complex systems of systems, but when all is said and done, they are human habitats. The built environment shapes our health and well-being in many ways. Done right, the built environment can have profound and positive effects on health.

USGBC is uniquely positioned to leverage the market transformation that the green building movement has inspired to drive a similar transformational impact on human health.

I am grateful for the tremendous amount of work provided by our talented and dedicated committee as well as the outpouring of interest from a range of individuals and organizations across the building industry and the broader public health community.  

In the coming months, we will undertake a number of initiatives and efforts to advance this critical aspect of green building. Because there is one thing we know to be true: If health is a human right, and green building can help, we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Howard Frumkin, M.D., Dr. P.H., is the chair of USGBC's Green Building and Human Health Board Working Group.

Other working group members include Vice Chair Anthony Bernheim, FAIA, LEED Fellow, vice president of the board of directors at the USGBC Northern California Chapter; Dr. Michael McCally, professor and vice chairman of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Gail Vittori, LEED Fellow, co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and chair of the Green Building Certification Institute board of directors.

Download a copy of the report here.

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    Howard Frumkin made 1 contribution in the last 6 months

Howard Frumkin

Dean, School of Public Health University of Washington
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Owner & MD of IQ Consult LLC ¦ LEED-AP BD+C, Schindler Elevator Corporation
I was wondering with LCAs and EPDs gaining importance in LEED v4, if human toxicity potential (HTP) related LCIA methodologies and impact categories / indicators may represent suitable metrics for human health, such as e.g.: ReCiPe (H, A) human toxicity in kg 1,4-DCB-eq., TRACI human health air pollutants in kg PM2.5-eq., TRACI human health carcinogenics in kg benzene-eq., TRACI human health non-carcinogenics kg toluene-eq., or USETox human toxicity or ecotoxicity in CTUs. Have such HTP LCA impact methodologies and impact categories been considered in above report?

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