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Health in Buildings RoundtableImproving Lives with Health-centered Buildings

Work Groups

The Health in Buildings Roundtable (HiBR) has identified several areas of interest to HiBR members with the intent to form working groups of diverse professionals who wish to make a connection with others interested in the topic. The below list of working groups has been identified and is in the process of identifying membership. These working groups can change over time and are intended to provide information and feedback on the specific topic area that may result in additional resources.

The goals of these working groups include:

- Creating connections between professionals and subject matter experts to identify common principles and applications.
- Identifying validated practices, tools and resources to improve occupant health and well-being.
- Prioritizing best practices based on the best available information.
- Identifying or developing best practices that encourage organization leadership to implement health-focused design and operational strategies in buildings.
- Sharing credible, evidence-based information on health in buildings.

The following working groups have been identified and are in varying stages of obtaining membership. These work groups will report at future HiBR conferences.

• Physical Activity
• Measurement Methods for Human Health
• Psychosocial Outcomes and Urban Greenspace
• Indoor Air Quality
• Energy, Health and Sustainable Communities
• Water and Indoor Moisture

  • Man and women jogging on path in park.  Bikers and walkers in background.  Mother, daughter leaning over stroller at side.

    Given that most people spend a large portion of their times in buildings — often sitting in front of computers and using elevators or escalators rather than taking the stairs — this group will identify available research on best practices designed to increase overall physical activity within work environments.

  • woman putting liquid into a beaker

    This working group will identify research and techniques used to measure the impact of building design and operations on occupant health and well-being. The expanding use of measurement technologies, including both wearable devices and environmental sensing devices, provides new ways of assessing environmental exposures in buildings. The group will identify methods that are used to measure the impact of the built environment on occupant health including sensing technologies, behavioral observations, physiological measures, archival records, surveys, photography and videography as a resource for engineering and facilities professionals.

  • Green grass, windmills and the horizon

    The group will identify research on the relationship between the built environment on occupant health. Areas will include cognitive performance, emotional well-being, stress reduction, circadian health, and healing. The overall goal of this group is to identify best practices for designing built environments that take into account human behavior and positively affect physical, mental and psycho-social well-being.

  • A room with a flat screen television on the wall, two chairs, table and a window view.

    This working group will focus on identifying research and best practices to reduce occupant exposure to indoor air pollution. Of special interest are “chemically sensitive” people who are more likely to be able to sense allergens and chemicals in the air. The working group will also examine the use of techniques and products that are designed to improve indoor air quality, such as improved air flow, use of charcoal air filters to cleanse air of chemicals, etc. The aim of this group is to identify methods to reduce chemical exposures such as pesticides, herbicides, carbon monoxide, chlorine, formaldehyde, phenol, and alcohol methane gas, gas sources for heating, and chemicals used in furnishings and building materials.

  • a green backyard garden with vegetables

    This workgroup will examine research and best practices to create and maintain healthy and sustainable buildings and communities. Buildings and communities are inherently interwoven, and affect occupant health, wellbeing, and productivity. This group will look at sustainable energy sources that also maintain health and productivity. The primary goal of this work group is to understand how energy and health are interrelated in the built environment and determine how energy supply and consumption can be optimized to benefit building occupants while minimizing the impact on the environment.

  • a drop of water

    This group will identify research to improve management of indoor moisture in buildings and reduce incidents of mold, microorganisms and bacteria build-up within buildings. The mold levels inside buildings are determined by moisture content and building ventilation, and the group will seek to identify best practices in moisture management in buildings.

  • woman looking through a telescope

    Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting.

    This group was proposed but was determined to fall outside of the scope of the HiRB’s focus, which is on buildings. To learn more about current research on EMF/EMR, please visit the National Cancer Institute webpage on electromagnetic fields and cancer or the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences webpage on electric & magnetic fields.