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Health in Buildings Roundtable (HiBR)


2015 Conference

Implementing Evidence Based Practices to Optimize Health in Buildings

People spend over 90% of the time indoors, and half of their waking hours at work in office buildings. Despite this simple fact, we know surprisingly little about the links between indoor environmental experience and human health. A missing component for designers and other building professionals is the metrics to determine whether a building is healthier – or not - for humans.  New technologies are providing these metrics, thereby creating a basis for targeted interventions to optimize health and wellness in built environments.
This one-day conference, sponsored by the NIH Health in Buildings Roundtable (HiBR), will highlight how research teams are establishing a new knowledge base using wearable and portable devices to assess health outcomes linked to environmental experience. The results of these projects are producing new policy and practices that promote wellness, including enhanced movement, healthy stress outcomes, improved circadian stimulation, and reduction in respiratory illness.  The conference will explore issues and challenges of translating complex research findings into design, behavioral guidance, and building operational practices.
This will be an interactive conference format between the panelists and the participants.  As a participant, you will have an opportunity to generate additional ideas and approaches to health in the “ideal” building that will form the basis of the HiBR conference in 2016.
To identify and support research that addresses human health and building impacts, and to apply the most advanced research to building design, construction, and landscaping in order to assure that human health needs are fully supported.
December 1, 2015
NIH Natcher Conference Center
(Building 45)
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Why Needed?

  • Despite the growing body of evidence on building-related illnesses, buildings are still largely a "black box" where mechanisms linking building components to health outcomes remain largely unknown.
  • Housing, planning, and design professionals are unable to make informed decisions when developing, constructing, and managing buildings and urban planning for human health because:
    • Basic, applied research on many aspects of the indoor and outdoor environment that affect health and well-being is lacking.
    • Available research data on health and well-being impacts has not been included in the development of building and landscaping standards.
    • Features intended to reduce energy use and meet other sustainability objectives may adversely impact occupant health.
    • LEED and other sustainability rating systems give minimal weighting to health related features.



The need for a substantial health in buildings program, to support this mission, has been evident for many years.  As early as 1994, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began a program called "The Healthy Building Initiative", with the idea of viewing the built environment as a contributor to our health.  This led to an in-depth review of our building design and construction practices, and the realization that at that time, we gave little attention to designs that supported human health. Since this effort would involve multi-faceted issues, the need for support from all applicable Federal, private sector, academic and professional entities would therefore be necessary.  The vision was to compartmentalize into several specific areas, but not limited to:  Public Awareness, Design Guidelines, Operations Guidelines, Monitoring of Building Performance, and Educational Programs.  Our goals remained, that: "Everyone should be able to enter and work/live in buildings that would not impair their health."

The Beginning and History of the HiBR:  Overview of HiBR History



 Build an effective and interdisciplinary organization to provide paradigm-shifting research, education, and policy on human-centered architecture that is balanced among the Federal, Private, Academic, and Professional Sectors.

  • Develop an interdisciplinary, basic, applied, and translational research base on human health in the built environment.
  • Generate idea-driven, interdisciplinary innovative solutions to promote human health in the built environment.
  • Develop metrics for methods and matrices for the measurement of the impact of the built environment on human health and well-being thus comparing human health and productivity performance of buildings and sustainability features.
  • Develop business model stimulating sustainable, human-centered architecture facilitating Return on Investment (ROI), the selection of sustainable features, and prioritization in the built environment based on health and ROI.
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for information by developing and maintaining a widely accessible database of published research and data on the impact of the built environment on human health and well-being.
  • Design and promote educational opportunities on human-centered architecture.
  • Advocate for healthy environments for people and ecology.
  • Partner with the appropriate organizations to design and promote guidelines for architects, builders, and managers of the built environment for human-centered architecture.
  • Work with appropriate partners and organizations to set public policy to develop regulations, standards, and guidance on human-centered architecture both nationally and internationally.
  • Develop and publish educational guidance on human-centered architecture, such as a Guide to Healthy Building Design and Operation, to provide science-based direction to multiple audiences, i.e. design professionals, facility operational staff, and legislators.



The Health in Buildings Roundtable is comprised of representatives from a wide array of organizations.




Previous Conferences

2014 Conference

2013 Conference

(Access through FedCenter)