Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summit on Green Building & Human Health: Wrap Up

The Summit on Green Building & Human Health, a two years’ worth of effort of consultative planning, finally discussed a focal point in modern construction: how to use green construction to positively impact human health and transform the market.

Although many building owners are convinced about the merits of green buildings, not all the players were quite involved in green construction. Architects, insurers, and product manufacturers weren’t actively engaging the matter of green construction. 

In order to support a nationwide campaign for green building and human health, there’s a need to shift the conversation from primarily physical structures to people and neighborhoods. The movement must focus on specific types of buildings where people need green buildings most: schools, homes, and hospitals to name a few.

Additional research is also a pressing concern. There ought to be more examples of healthy environments that work and with applications that have been proven to work for future projects. Digital technology can go a long way in helping integrate solutions that can be implemented immediately.

There are also a lot of misconceptions about sustainability. During the Summit, the definition of Professor David Orr was considered compelling:

“The standard for ecological design is neither efficiency nor productivity but health, beginning with that of the soil and extending upward through plants, animals and people. It is impossible to  impair health at any level without affecting it at other levels.”

The definition centralizes on the importance of human health and positive emotional well-being. It’s about time that building design is made with the understanding of human condition in mind. It also focuses on the important of a built environment, with some successful examples cited in the conference: the California Indoor Air Quality Standard, LEED, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, and Health Product Declaration. These should be used to monitor green building systems and help consumers decide which tools best suit their needs.

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