Green Building and Health

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI)
The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), directed by the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, addresses the health and energy efficiency needs of a home through holistic intervention models. The initiative is a national effort to integrate lead hazard control, healthy homes and weatherization, and energy efficiency work. GHHI’s site features key information about what makes a home green and healthy and links to resources for homeowners and policymakers about major health hazards that can be found in homes, ranging from asbestos to pests. [url; GHHI]

Health Outcomes and Green Renovation of Affordable Housing
This article discusses an NCHH study that examined the health impact of green building renovation on residents living in a multifamily property in southwest Minnesota. The researchers found significant health improvements following low-income housing renovation that complied with green standards and recommended that all green building standards include health requirements. Additionally, they found that collaboration of housing, public health, and environmental health professionals through integrated design holds promise for improved health, quality of life, building operation, and energy conservation. [url; Public Health Reports]

Green Rehabilitation of Elder Apartment Treatments (GREAT) Study
The GREAT study was one of the nation’s first examinations of the health outcomes among older Americans following rehabilitation using green healthy housing methods. The study hypothesized that public housing renovated using green healthy housing standards could improve the mental and physical health of residents. Evaluation activities included development of assessment protocols, data entry and analysis, execution of quality assurance activities, and completion of evaluation reports. Green renovations (such as improved ventilation, moisture, and mold reduction) and various safety measures, resulted in improved mental and general physical health, prevented falls, and reduced exposure to tobacco smoke. [url; NCHH, 2013]

How Healthy Are Green Building Programs?
This NCHH report examines several leading green building programs including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development in Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council, Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Criteria, the International Code Council’s (ICC) National Green Building Standard, and the EPA’s Energy Star with Indoor Air Package Pilot to assess how these programs incorporate healthy homes principles and practices into their standards. [NCHH, 2008]