Air Quality in the Built Environment

The World Green Building Council is working to combat the contribution to global air pollution from the built environment. We believe that sustainable buildings and cities are a key part of the solution to reducing both the health and environmental impacts of global air pollution. Green buildings and cities are an integral ingredient to global sustainable development, as defined by the Sustainable Development Goals [1].

The World Green Building Council is proud to support the Earth Challenge 2020 through our Plant a Sensor campaign.

The Campaign

As part of our global Better Places for People project, active in over 30 countries worldwide, we are targeting the specific impacts of the built environment on the crisis of air pollution across the world, in order to reduce the impacts on human health and our natural environment.

Working in partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in conjunction with the BreatheLife2030 campaign, WorldGBC aims to increase awareness, develop understanding and kickstart actions from a global audience across a range of sectors.

Our specific goals are;

  • Reduce ambient outdoor emissions: 

    • Operational emissions: Reduce the impact of the built environment on global air pollution by limiting emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants to benefit human health, the natural environment, and limit the sectoral contribution on climate change. 
    • Embodied emissions: Endorse strategies to lower emission of greenhouse gases from the full life cycle of a building. We aim to increase awareness of the health and environmental threats of unsustainable construction practices, as well as the impact of material transport, demolition and waste across the supply chain.
  • Mitigate sources of indoor air pollution:

    • Materials: Promote importance of sustainable, non-toxic and air-purifying building materials to limit off-gassing of pollutants within buildings
    • Building fabric: Develop awareness of importance of building fabric and construction quality, as well as the role of retrofitting existing stock, to lower risk of damp and mould
    • Ventilation: Champion appropriate ventilation strategies to achieve energy efficiency and health priorities for efficient indoor air management 
  • Radically improve sustainable operation of buildings: 

    • Prevent the emissions multiplier effect: Endorse sustainable design, operation and retrofit of buildings that protects inhabitants from polluted outdoor air with conscious avoidance of the emissions multiplier effect
    • Minimise indoor pollution: To increase understanding and present solutions to the health and environmental threats of indoor air pollution, in both developing and developed nations

3.8 million deaths a year are attributable to use of unclean cookstoves, and the damaging health impacts they cause [2]

  • Increase global awareness:

    • Develop recognition of the impact of the built environment on global air pollution, including understanding of threats to human and planetary health and the consequential economic impacts. 
    • Present solutions and promote calls to action for a range of stakeholders; including citizens, business and policy makers, 

 

These actions will support the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals: 

      

3. Good Health and Wellbeing

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

11. Sustainable Cities

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

13. Climate Action

17. Partnerships for the Goals

 

Next - Causes of air pollution from the built environment

 

____

Footnotes:
[1] United Nations Sustainable Development. (n.d.). About the Sustainable Development Goals - United Nations Sustainable Development. [online] Available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].
[2] World Health Organisation. (2018). Household air pollution and health. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/household-air-pollution... [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].

The World Green Building Council is working to combat the contribution to global air pollution from the built environment. We believe that sustainable buildings and cities are a key part of the solution to reducing both the health and environmental impacts of global air pollution. Green buildings and cities are an integral ingredient to global sustainable development, as defined by the Sustainable Development Goals [1].

The World Green Building Council is proud to support the Earth Challenge 2020 through our Plant a Sensor campaign.

The Campaign

As part of our global Better Places for People project, active in over 30 countries worldwide, we are targeting the specific impacts of the built environment on the crisis of air pollution across the world, in order to reduce the impacts on human health and our natural environment.

Working in partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in conjunction with the BreatheLife2030 campaign, WorldGBC aims to increase awareness, develop understanding and kickstart actions from a global audience across a range of sectors.

Our specific goals are;

  • Reduce ambient outdoor emissions: 

    • Operational emissions: Reduce the impact of the built environment on global air pollution by limiting emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants to benefit human health, the natural environment, and limit the sectoral contribution on climate change. 

    • Embodied emissions: Endorse strategies to lower emission of greenhouse gases from the full life cycle of a building. We aim to increase awareness of the health and environmental threats of unsustainable construction practices, as well as the impact of material transport, demolition and waste across the supply chain.
  • Mitigate sources of indoor air pollution:

    • Materials: Promote importance of sustainable, non-toxic and air-purifying building materials to limit off-gassing of pollutants within buildings

    • Building fabric: Develop awareness of importance of building fabric and construction quality, as well as the role of retrofitting existing stock, to lower risk of damp and mould
    • Ventilation: Champion appropriate ventilation strategies to achieve energy efficiency and health priorities for efficient indoor air management 
  • Radically improve sustainable operation of buildings: 

    • Prevent the emissions multiplier effect: Endorse sustainable design, operation and retrofit of buildings that protects inhabitants from polluted outdoor air with conscious avoidance of the emissions multiplier effect

    • Minimise indoor pollution: To increase understanding and present solutions to the health and environmental threats of indoor air pollution, in both developing and developed nations

3.8 million deaths a year are attributable to use of unclean cookstoves, and the damaging health impacts they cause [2]

  • Increase global awareness:

    • Develop recognition of the impact of the built environment on global air pollution, including understanding of threats to human and planetary health and the consequential economic impacts. 

    • Present solutions and promote calls to action for a range of stakeholders; including citizens, business and policy makers, 

 

These actions will support the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals: 

      

3. Good Health and Wellbeing

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

11. Sustainable Cities

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

13. Climate Action

17. Partnerships for the Goals

 

Next - Causes of air pollution from the built environment

 

____

Footnotes:
[1] United Nations Sustainable Development. (n.d.). About the Sustainable Development Goals - United Nations Sustainable Development. [online] Available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].
[2] World Health Organisation. (2018). Household air pollution and health. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/household-air-pollution-and-health [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].
Plant A Sensor Click here for information on the Plant a Sensor global campaign Read More
Air Pollution Causes Click here for information on the causes of air pollution in the built environment Read More
Air Pollution Impacts Click here for information on the impacts of air pollution in the built environment Read More
Air Pollution Solutions Click here for information on the solutions to air pollution in the built environment Read More
Air Pollution Resources Click here for more information and resources on air pollution in the built environment Read More