people sitting and walking in a clinic waiting are with views of a garden outside the windows

Health

Improve occupant health and well-being in every project with the help of these resources.

Architects are uniquely positioned to help address many of the health challenges our society faces today—including COVID-19. From asthma to obesity, diabetes to depression, a growing body of practice-based evidence is clearly demonstrating the profound impact that forward-looking design decisions can have on human health for individuals and communities. When an equitable approach to health impacts becomes central to the products we specify and spaces we design, transformational outcomes quickly appear.

By using evidence-based approaches, designers can mitigate pollutants that harm public health, promote physical activity that lowers the risk of chronic diseases, alleviate anxiety and stress, and improve emotional well-being—among other things—to enhance quality of life.

Select better materials

Good design supports health and well-being. Examining the toxicity of the materials and finishes you use on a project can make a measurable, positive impact on the health of people interacting with the building. Explore the resources below to better understand the impact of the materials you specify.

Materials

Materials Pledge

This pledge has been developed with a vision of a holistic approach to the way architects and designers evaluate the products and finishes that we specify. The Architecture & Design Materials Pledge was developed to inspire a shift in how we evaluate the products and finishes that we specify on a daily basis. Participants commit to five overarching statements that will lead to more intentional product specification across their portfolios over time.

Healthier Materials Protocol

The new AIA Healthier Materials Protocol was created to provide clear, practical methods and tools to navigate materials and effectively translate awareness to practice. The document provides a stepwise method for setting healthier materials goal and criteria definitions, product selection, tracking, and specification, no matter the size and scope of the project.

ROI: Healthier, more productive occupants

At the heart of our built environment—whether homes, offices, schools, or other building types—are the occupants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend 87% of their time inside buildings, making the built environment they inhabit critical. Businesses, individuals, and society benefit from better working environments. Key health benefits include improved air quality, thermal comfort, and access to daylight. A study found that high-performance design elements that address these key benefits produced a total net value of $55.47/sf for increased productivity and $9.03/sf for improved health and wellness, through reduced absenteeism and missed work time, [GB1] [DM2] over 10 years (Attema 2018).

Support healthier building outcomes

Join one of our networks or an upcoming event to learn from your peers and share your best practices.

Academy of Architecture for Health

Join the community

Design for Aging

Enhancing spaces for an aging society.

Join the community

Environments for Aging Expo & Conference

Register now

Materials Certification

Take all five courses and earn a certificate!

Learn more

Designing for Health

Strategies to create healthier buildings.

Take the course
Chat support