4 Predictions for Healthy Buildings in 2019

By Owens Corning

In 1984, the World Health Organization (WHO) coined the term “sick building syndrome.” That same year, a WHO Committee report suggested that up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide might be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality.1

As times change, so does the way people think about buildings. Today, the focus has shifted from concerns about sick buildings to creating healthy environments for buildings’ occupants. This focus on wellness was on display at last week’s USGBC-Massachusetts Healthy Building Summit.  Advances in building science, more certifications that evaluate the life cycle impact of building products, and even shifts in workforce demographics are shaping how the AEC community approaches the relationship between a building and its occupants.

And while no one can predict the future with certainty, following are some predictions for how the healthy building conversation may continue to evolve in 2019.

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5 ways healthier materials will enhance your business


The AIA Healthier Materials Protocol is a first-of-its-kind guide that can help you better understand risk and create a healthier materials plans for clients. The protocol meets you where you are, whether you’re a sustainability expert or simply have a passion for design that is safer for people and the planet.

Here are five benefits to using the protocol in your everyday practice:

Your buildings will be healthier and safer

Lead, silica, polyvinyl chloride, flame retardants—research cited throughout the protocol, such as a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, shows that certain chemicals in building materials can be hazardous to human health. Americans now spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, meaning that when buildings expose inhabitants to hazardous chemicals, large groups are affected. The creation, installation, and disposing of materials can also put the public and the environment at risk.


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Check out photos of the event

Healthy Building Summit

You can self report HBS 18 for AIA or GBCI Credits, just use the info below!

Event Description

Healthy buildings foster healthier, happier, and more productive employees, making occupant health part of a business’s financial bottom line. Yet from WELL to FitWell and LEED to the Living Building Challenge, the avenues for pursuing healthy buildings for your occupants can be overwhelming.

USGBC MA wants to help by empowering building owners to create the best environment for their occupants at their Healthy Building Summit on August 14th. At the event, participants will enjoy a hot breakfast followed by an expert panel that will explore provocative questions and information on the science and engineering of healthy buildings.


Meet the Panelists

  • Nadav Malin, President of BuildingGreen
  • Heather Henriksen, Managing Director, Harvard Office for Sustainability
  • George Bandy, Vice President of Sustainability and Commercial Marketing, Mohawk
  • Monica Nakielski, Director, Sustainability and Environmental Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Jeff Hyman, Associate Director, Environment Health & Safety US at EMD Serono, Inc. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Recognize various classes of chemicals of concern found in the built environment.
  2. Distinguish how wellness and the built environment affects a company’s bottom line.
  3. Understand steps manufacturers are taking to take wellness beyond the end product.
  4. Learn how chemicals of concern infiltrate everyday products and methods for finding better alternatives.

Events and Courses to Keep Learning

Introduction to WELL With Jenn Taranto
September 18 @ 8:30 am – 10:30 am

The Introduction to the WELL Building Standard provides an overview of the WELL Building Standard ideology, structure, and certification process. The medical basis for the concept categories is introduced along with design and construction strategies to create healthy buildings. This training will introduce how to reinvent buildings that are better for both people and the planet using the WELL Building Standard as the framework.

Living Product Expo ’18
September 11 – September 13

The International Living Future Institute will host the fourth Living Product Expo this September 11th-13th in Pittsburgh, the birthplace of American manufacturing. At the Expo, you’ll connect with 700+ leaders in sustainable design, healthy materials, biophilic design, and health & wellness.

Healthy Building Summit 2018 Panelists

Nadav Malin - Moderator

Nadav Malin - Moderator

President, BuildingGreen

Nadav is the building industry’s acknowledged go-to resource when you need a thoughtful perspective on the materials and design solutions that define sustainable building practice. He is an experienced trainer and facilitator, convening the network of architecture firm Sustainable Design Leaders and teaching diverse groups about LEED and green building. He consults and leads workshops for major corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and design firms. He is a LEED Fellow and Honorary AIA.

Heather Henriksen

Heather Henriksen

Managing Director, Harvard University Office for Sustainability

Heather Henriksen has served as Harvard University’s chief sustainability officer since 2008, advising the President and senior leadership on strategy and building an organizational change initiative that resulted in the University community achieving its initial science-based climate goal of a 30% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions, from 2006 to 2016, despite the addition of over 3 million square feet of space. Heather directs the Office for Sustainability which oversees the implementation of the Harvard’s comprehensive Sustainability Plan (co-created with faculty and students in 2014) and the University’s ambitious new Climate Action Plan, announced by President Drew Faust, which sets bold targets to transform campus operations to be fossil fuel-free by 2050 and fossil fuel-neutral by 2026.

George Bandy Jr.

George Bandy Jr.

Vice President of Sustainability and Commercial Marketing, Mohawk

George provides substantial knowledge of the concepts and practices of sustainability. He believes that looking at opportunities to position environmental, economic and socially responsible solutions for customers can set the standard for other businesses to follow that will result in a brighter future for us all. George is a dynamic speaker that shares the vision for a sustainable future; covering such topics as: The Business Case for Sustainability, Health and Wellness, Innovation and Smart Design, Greening the Supply Chain, Social Sustainability, Marketing for 2020 Minds and Culture Change. In addition to his duties at Mohawk, George is the former Chairman of the Board at the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Monica Nakielski

Monica Nakielski

Director, Sustainability and Environmental Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Monica Nakielski, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, is one of the professionals responsible for providing leadership and vision for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts sustainability and environmental health strategy. Nakielski earned her MBA from the Simmons School of Management and a B.S. in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her most recent work has been advocating for positive impact on the environment, health, and climate within hospitals and the medical industry. Prior to the Blue Cross Blue Shield, she was the senior program manager for Partners Healthcare developing sustainable initiatives for 16 medical facilities.

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman

Associate Director, Environment Health & Safety US at EMD Serono, Inc.

Jeffrey Hyman is the Environment Health and Safety Associate Director at EMD Serono, Inc. With his strong track record of over 30 years of experience in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical operations, he is passionate about promoting, protecting and securing the well-being of people. Working at EMD Serono for over 28 years, he and his team are supporting over 1,300 nationally, providing opportunities to create secure and safe work cultures in the industry.

Healthy Building Summit 2018 Sponsors