Health Enhancing Strategies
SFTool helps project teams build health-enhancing strategies into any project.
First, visit the Buildings and Health section of the SFTool:
- Read the section - "How Buildings Can Support Health and Well-Being" to learn how building features impact physical health and psychological and social well-being.
- Read the section - “Buildings and Health Components,” open the Interior tab, then select the Indoor Environmental Quality and Circadian Effective Lighting circles.
- Explore the resources and Case Studies at the bottom of the page.
Next, visit the Enhancing Health with Indoor Air page to learn more about research exploring how indoor air quality affects human health, comfort and performance.
Finally, add health-enhancing strategies to a project. Review this training (link TBA). Create a Scorecard using the online Scorecard tool and identify potential strategies for the project. Use the Total Workplace Employee Survey to measure occupant satisfaction with the indoor environment, and visit DOE’s Healthy Buildings Toolkit page to learn about evaluating the potential financial value of occupant health on your project. Use the data to help prioritize which strategies to apply first to a project. Use the Healthy Buildings Toolkit to access a lending library of tools for short-term measurements of the indoor environment and review the IEQ Sensor Spec to explore requirements for Indoor Environmental Quality and Indoor Air Quality sensors for ongoing, continual measurements.
The Total Workplace (TWP) Scorecard helps project teams evaluate current building attributes so that they can be improved as part of future building projects. The Scorecard has a particular focus on Health, Comfort and Performance including the following five action strategies: Air Quality, Thermal Comfort, Lighting, Acoustics, and Musculoskeletal.
Learn about evaluating the potential financial value of occupant health on your project using the Healthy Buildings and Energy Support Tool (H-BEST) from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and a research team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The toolkit can help you prioritize which strategies to apply first to a project and includes a lending library of tools for short-term measurements of the indoor environment.
We’ve also created two tools to measure how well a space is performing before and after implementing healthy strategies: an employee survey and sensors to measure Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).
This sample pre-occupancy survey measures people’s perception of health, comfort, and performance in a given space before implementing healthy strategies. A similarly structured post-occupancy survey is deployed following implementation.
This sample scope provides the technical requirements to procure and install sensors meeting RESET Air. This standard meets requirements for monitoring indoor environmental quality on RESET AIR for Commercial Interiors, WELL and LEED IEQ projects. The scope also addresses the technical requirements to satisfy IT Security in GSA Buildings. This scope would need to be customized to fit the specific floor plan and IT network in any given project.
The Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings (OFHPGB), develops best practices, guidance and tools for government-wide use. We advance Federal building innovations in planning, design, and operations to reduce costs, enable agency missions, enhance human health and performance, and minimize environmental impacts. OFHPGB partners with the rest of GSA and other agencies and organizations to pilot, promote and implement the most promising high-performance practices, thereby reducing duplication through information-sharing and cooperation, and resulting in a government that delivers more value at a lower cost.
Health, as defined by World Health Organization in its 1948 constitution, is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This definition of health has been expanded in recent years to include (1) resilience and the ability to cope with health problems and (2) the capacity to return to an equilibrium state after health challenges.
These three health domains - physical, psychological, and social - are not mutually exclusive but rather interact to create a sense of health that changes over time and place. The challenge for building design and operations is to identify cost-effective ways to eliminate health risks while also providing positive physical, psychological, and social supports as well as coping resources.
Learn more about Buildings and Health.
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is most simply described as the conditions inside the building. It includes air quality, but also access to daylight and views, pleasant acoustic conditions, and occupant control over lighting and thermal comfort.
Learn more about Indoor Environmental Quality.
Workspaces should be designed and operated to support the functional and environmental needs of occupants. Design for thermal comfort should be based on ASHRAE Standard 55. Design for air quality should be based on ASHRAE 62. Occupant comfort should be assessed frequently once a building is occupied, using ASHRAE’s Performance Measurement Protocols for Commercial Buildings.
Occupant engagement involves communicating with, enabling and empowering building occupants to help meet sustainability goals for the building. This can involve providing information on actions occupants can take to improve building performance and resource efficiency, while making it easy and appealing for occupants to do so (e.g. actions that improve productivity).
A primary goal of sustainable design is to maximize occupant comforst and satisfaction, while minimizing environmental impact and costs. Comforst and satisfaction are important for many reasons, not least of which is that they correlate positively with personal and team performance. The greater the satisfaction, the higher the productivity and creativity of an organization. It has also been demonstrated that occupant satisfaction impacts staff rentention.