By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager

Over the last two decades, the green building movement has shown how thoughtful design, construction, and operation can create buildings and even entire communities that benefit people and the environment. Today, the focus of the movement is shifting toward the opportunity to create buildings and communities that intentionally promote health and wellness. These trends raise important questions: 

  • Who will lead this generational change in the real estate industry? 
  • What kind of skills and expertise will be needed to navigate these far-reaching and fast-moving issues?

Given the tremendous opportunities for health-promoting real estate, USGBC and the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are working together to create practical training for industry leaders. One of the first steps is our new Building for Health executive education program, being held from Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Last year, the then Acting Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Boris Lushniak, addressed the Greenbuild Conference & Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana. He asked the green building movement to join public health professionals and reverse a century of development that has left many Americans obese, isolated, and exposed to unnecessary health risks. Many of us were deeply inspired by his message, which reinforced our growing sense that health and wellness will drive the next era of green building market transformation

Yet, realizing Dr. Lushniak’s powerful vision will not be easy, and it requires new perspectives, skills, and expertise within the green building movement and the real estate industry. Our leaders will need to build awareness of the science connecting the built environment and public health, develop a new technical vocabulary, and prepare to guide interdisciplinary teams in applying new strategies and tools. Tomorrow’s leaders need to be able to envision management processes that can be used by projects and entire portfolios to create and differentiate health-promoting properties as a superior class of real estate. 

Join USGBC and Harvard to explore the intersection of health and the built environment and get prepared to guide your organization through this transformation.

Apply to attend Building for Health

We look forward to sharing the decision support tools emerging from USGBC’s on-going applied research. With support from the Robert Wood John Foundation and in collaboration with the University of Virginia School of Medicine, our team is developing and applying new integrative processes to help green building project teams and real estate portfolio managers systematically promote population health outcomes. We are adapting an ISO 14001-style framework to provide a clear, actionable roadmap to link plans and policies, property-specific interventions, relevant performance monitoring, and responsive management. We believe that these processes will allow managers to more effectively address specific health challenges, such as physical inactivity and asthma, which contribute to rising health care costs.


Learn more about how we can empower ourselves as leaders to position health as a primary driver of decision making in our movement.

Learn more about the program in our article “Building for health: Better decisions for a better future.”


Source: USGBC Articles, see original post here.

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