At illumiPure, we’re proud to stand at the nexus of health, wellness, energy conservation, and environmental equality. That’s why we’ve talked about healthy buildings for years and have taken “The Healthy Buildings Company” as our tagline.
Humans implicitly know their surroundings are important. Everyone can think of a time when they experienced a poor indoor environment. A room may have been generally unclean, had an odor, dimly lit, or filled with stale air. Your body told you it was a distraction. Benjamin Franklin, nearly 250 years ago, assumed that breathing unventilated indoor air wasn’t a good thing. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that Wells & Riley showed that particulates circulate from room to room. This established the importance of the entire building being healthy. In the last decade, technology has continued to advance, where monitoring and disinfection techniques could be combined to create easy-to-use and cost-effective devices that allow for occupant optimization.
What is healthy building?
The term healthy building was coined by Harvard’s school of public health as a nexus of global health and sustainable development goals underpinned by public health. They provided nine foundations of a healthy building (shown below). In addition, the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has been instrumental in giving healthy buildings international visibility.
At illumiPure, we define a healthy building as one designed, constructed, and maintained to support occupant health, wellness, and productivity. We believe that any building can be a healthy building, whether brought about by design or through thoughtful retrofitting. Furthermore, a healthy building is one that the best employers want. It makes their staff healthier, happier, and more productive, and therefore, the best employees want to work in one for the same reasons.
Why healthy buildings are more than just clean buildings
The term healthy building was coined in 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic increased people’s awareness of air quality. Working in an environment with unnecessary health risks is no longer acceptable. And, perhaps most importantly, people have realized that the spread of new infectious diseases is inevitable but with healthy building, building owners, tenants, and occupants can help mitigate these risks.
A healthy building, however, is much more than one that protects you from covid. While keeping indoor environments disinfected and purified is essential, a healthy building optimizes productivity for everyone in the building. A healthy building improves children’s test scores by providing them with the correct lighting. A healthy building reduces distractions from odors, noises, and allergens. Finally, a healthy building evokes feelings of comfort from both natural aesthetic views and trust that the building you work in is safe.
A healthy building can protect its occupants without adversely or negatively impacting the environment. For example, Dr. Joseph Allen, a leader of the healthy building movement, recently stated that it would be unethical to build a healthy building that was energy inefficient. We should think the same about an energy-efficient structure that harms people.
Humans spend 90% of their time indoors. We’ve become a species that spends more time indoors than some whales underwater. To take care of ourselves, we must take care of the indoor environments we frequent in energy-efficient and sustainable ways.
This is what a healthy building represents and why illumiPure is dedicated to helping all people achieve this goal.