3029.0 The role of public health in Green Building Policy

Monday, October 29, 2012: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Shaping policy decisions is a critical role for public health practitioners whose work creates healthier and more equitable environments. Environmental Health departments that function in the context of Public Health are uniquely positioned to assess the health risks and benefits posed by environmental hazards within the built environment. The concept of green building encompasses a variety of environmental and health positive features, such as energy and water efficiency, the use of sustainably produced and procured materials, low emission building materials and advanced ventilation systems. Green building projects also include careful assessment and optimization of neighboring land uses and transportation modalities that enhances physical activity, pedestrian safety, social connectivity and food access. Although a guiding principle of green building is to be protective of human health, conflicts may arise between green building development standards and human health. As the green building movement advances, there is a growing need to evaluate the positive and negative human health impacts of green building programs and policies. The San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section (EHS) provides this assessment function in a number of ways. In the last decade, EHS has: (1) provided regulatory support by interpreting medical literature to assist with green building regulatory compliance; (2) developed and implemented local legislation to improve residential indoor air quality; (3) participated in drafting the environmental quality section of the municipal green building ordinance; and (4) established partnerships to promote evidence-based research on health impacts of green buildings. One national community organization, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., has been on the frontline of green affordable development and research. They have recently completed a research study which illustrates methods that can be used to evaluate the impact of energy upgrade work on resident health. This presentation will highlight how city agencies and community partners collaborate to develop strategies and solve problems to promote green building programs and policies that support sustainability, environmental justice, protect public health, and provide opportunities to improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations living in poor housing conditions.
Session Objectives: 1. Participants will be able to identify the potential health risks and benefits associated with green building construction. 2. Participants will be able to describe a local public health’s department role in developing legislative and regulatory mechanisms for oversight of non-potable water use, air quality assessment and ventilation requirements for urban developments 3. Participants will be able to describe methods that weatherization programs are using to more fully integrate health into their work. 4. Participants will demonstrate an understanding of different types of research projects that evaluate the health impacts of green buildings.
Cynthia Comerford Scully, Masters in Resource Management and Environmental Planning
Cynthia Scully, Management and Environmental Planning

Promoting green building programs and policies that support sustainability and protect public health
Cynthia Comerford Scully, Masters in Resource Management and Environmental Planning

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Occupational Health and Safety, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Environment