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Your Environment. Your Health.

Healthy Buildings, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH)

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Healthy Buildings, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

January 19,2022

Interviewee: Joseph G. Allen, D.Sc.

In this episode we talk with Joseph G. Allen, D.Sc., an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who is merging the disciplines of building science and health science. Allen discusses his research on indoor air quality and health and how the COVID-19 pandemic has reinvigorated the healthy building conversation. He also offers strategies people can use to promote healthy buildings, healthy lives, and a healthy planet.

Healthy Buildings, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American spends about 90% of their time indoors. This means that the quality of our homes, workplaces, schools, and other buildings has the potential to impact our health and well-being. Air quality, moisture, temperature, pests, and noise are all building-related factors that can affect health. Buildings also use a lot of energy, contributing to the release of greenhouse gases that drive climate change. By better understanding these factors, buildings can be planned, designed, and maintained in a way that promotes health of people and the environment.

In this episode we talk with Joseph G. Allen, D.Sc., an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who is merging the disciplines of building science and health science. Allen discusses his research on indoor air quality and health and how the COVID-19 pandemic has reinvigorated the healthy building conversation. He also offers strategies people can use to promote healthy buildings, healthy lives, and a healthy planet.

Interviewee: Joseph G. Allen, D.Sc.

Joseph G. Allen, D.Sc.

Joseph G. Allen, D.Sc., is an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of Harvard’s Healthy Building program, where he and his team created the “9 Foundations of Healthy Building.” Working with John Macomber of the Harvard Business School, Allen coauthored Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity, which was named a ‘best book of the year’ by Fortune in 2020 and one of the New York Times ‘8 best books for healthy living’ in 2021. Allen serves on The Lancet COVID-19 Commission where he is chair of its Task Force of Safe Work, Safe Schools, and Safe Travel.

Allen began his career conducting forensic investigations of sick buildings across a diverse range of industries, including healthcare, biotechnology, education, commercial office real estate, and manufacturing. He now works with a team of experts to provide strategic healthy buildings solutions to senior executives at Fortune 500 companies. He has authored over eighty peer-reviewed scientific papers — including in such journals as Science and The Lancet — and is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review.

Resources:

  • Visit the Healthy Buildings program website to access healthy buildings resources and tools developed by Allen and team.
  • Check out “The 9 Foundations of Healthy Building,” developed by Allen and collaborators, for clear, actionable, evidence-based summaries of the core elements of healthy indoor spaces.
  • Visit the COGFX Study website to learn more about Allen’s research on indoor air quality and cognitive health.

Relevant References:

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