New guide draws together the latest research to show how simple improvements in building design and technology can deliver healthier, greener homes.
The World Green Building Council (GBC) will today become the latest international business body to debut a major new initiative on the sidelines of the COP24 Summit in Katowice, with the publication of a new best practice guide to creating homes that are healthier for both occupants and the planet.
The guide brings together the latest research on air quality, thermal and acoustic comfort and lighting to provide “simple, low-cost and practical” advice on how to make homes healthier and greener.
The report aims to highlight how the same construction techniques and use of insulation, which helps to improve building energy efficiency also delivers significant health benefits.
It details how globally 92 per cent of people live in areas where the air around their homes is not safe to breathe, while around 65 per cent of Europeans living in major urban areas are exposed to dangerously high levels of noise pollution that are thought to contribute to stress, high blood pressure, hypertension and strokes.
Similarly, design approaches that make wider use of daylight, both curb energy consumption and lead to improved health outcomes. One study about living in a dark home found health worsened by 50 per cent with headaches, insomnia and depression amongst other reported negative health impacts, the report said.
“Buildings and construction contribute close to 40 per cent of global energy related carbon emissions causing climate change and contribute to air pollution that causes around four million deaths annually,” said Cristina Gamboa, CEO at the World GBC. “Therefore, the industry must look at ways to make buildings and homes good for human health as well as beneficial to the environment.
“Our key message is that homes and buildings across the world must be sustainable for people and planet. By publishing this guide, we hope this information will empower homeowners and occupiers to invest in a healthier home.”
The guide sets out a series of recommendations for house-builders, householders, and policymakers, including measures to effectively ventilate homes, insulate buildings properly, and maximise the use of daylight.
“The energy efficient cities of the future must also become healthier cities,” said Vijoleta Gordeljevic, Health and Climate Change Coordinator, Health and Environment Alliance.
“By following the recommendations in the healthy homes guide, building occupants can play a key role in assuring that the buildings we live, work and study in do not just protect but promote our health.”
The report is the latest in a series of new initiatives from World GBC designed to accelerate the development of green buildings globally, including recent work to support the development of green mortgages and a major new programme to encourage companies across the sector to set net zero emission building targets.