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We highly recommend Healthy Buildings – How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity, by Joseph G. Allen and John D. Macomber, for those who care about the health of our children, oneself, and the communities we belong to. This book couldn’t be more timely, as the pandemic has greatly accelerated the need for action as well as a broader interest in how to create the healthy environments we all need. The authors break the content into two main sections: first is ‘The Case For Healthy Buildings’, which takes a very deep dive and multi-faceted look into why healthy environments are so important. The second then focuses on ‘A Healthy Building Strategy’, which as the name suggests outlines exactly how we go about creating healthy environments within our homes, schools, and workplaces starting with the Nine Foundations of a Healthy Building.

“This book should be essential reading for all who commission, design, manage, and use buildings―indeed anyone who is interested in a healthy environment.”– Norman Foster

“Healthy Buildings makes a great contribution by urging us to shift to a ‘health-first’ mindset in relation to our built environment. Its unique insights help close the knowledge gap around healthy buildings, reveal their important role in global sustainability, and provide practical guidance on the main factors we should all be on the lookout for in our homes, offices, and schools.”– Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council

As schools and businesses around the world consider when and how to reopen their doors, Joseph G. Allen, the Director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings Program and Harvard Business School’s leading expert on urban resilience, reveals what you can do to harness the power of your offices, homes, and schools to protect your health—and boost every aspect of your performance and well-being.

Ever feel tired during a meeting? That’s because most conference rooms are not bringing in enough fresh air. When that door opens, it literally breathes life back into the room. But there is a lot more acting on your body that you can’t feel or see. From our offices and homes to schools, hospitals, and restaurants, the indoor spaces where we work, learn, play, eat, and heal have an outsized impact on our performance and well-being. They affect our creativity, focus, and problem-solving ability and can make us sick—jeopardizing our future and dragging down profits in the process.

Joseph Allen and John Macomber make a compelling case in this urgently needed book for why every business and homeowner should make certain relatively low-cost investments a top priority. Grounded in exposure and risk science and relevant to anyone newly concerned about how their surroundings impact their health, Healthy Buildings can help you evaluate the impact of small, easily controllable environmental fluctuations on your immediate well-being and long-term reproductive and lung health. It shows how our indoor environment can have a dramatic impact on a whole host of higher order cognitive functions—including things like concentration, strategic thinking, troubleshooting, and decision-making. Study after study has found that your performance will dramatically improve if you are working in optimal conditions (with high rates of ventilation, few damaging persistent chemicals, and optimal humidity, lighting and noise control). So what would it take to turn that knowledge into action?

Cutting through the jargon to explain complex processes in simple and compelling language, Allen and Macomber show how buildings can both expose you to and protect you from disease. They reveal the Nine Foundations of a Healthy Building, share insider tips, and show how tracking what they call “health performance indicators” with smart technology can boost a company’s performance and create economic value. With decades of practice in protecting worker health, they offer a clear way forward right now, and show us what comes next in a post-pandemic world. While the “green” building movement introduced important new efficiencies, it’s time to look beyond the four walls—placing the decisions we make around buildings into the larger conversation around development and health, and prioritizing the most important and vulnerable asset of any building: its people.

Healthy Buildings, first published in April 2020 is both a Fortune Best Book of the Year and an AIA New York Book of the Year.

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