Glass Buildings

Healthy Buildings

on the links between the indoor environment, human health, and well-being to transform the status quo 

In order to make this transformation, we expect that the skillsets of future leaders of real estate will need to be at the intersection of...

Image by Austin Distel

In this era of social and technological transformation, we, the MIT researchers and innovators, are inspired to ask two questions:

(1) How does the indoor building environment affect human behavior, health, and performance?

(2) How can we use a deep understanding of building and human health productivity outcomes to accelerate the digital and social transformation of real estate that reinforce both business and social value?

Research Framework

Green Indoors

Research Projects

Project 1: 

Healthy Building:

Environment, Performance & Value

This study will build groundbreaking economics foundation, analyzing the indoor environment’s impact on shaping human health and productivity.

By linking environmental conditions in workplaces to human behavior, health, and productivity outcomes, the study investigations how occupants interact with different environmental conditions. 

Project 2

Healthy Building at the Intersection of Digital & Social Transformation

Currently, there are two sets of disconnected literature: 1) The digital transformation of the real estate industry; and 2) the shift from green towards healthy buildings. However, little research examines the interplay of these two transformational forces.

Our studies aim to fill the gap by developing a framework to understand if digital transformation of the real estate industry affects transformation towards higher sustainability goals? And how? 

Modern Architecture

Working Papers

Working Title: Worker’s health & productivity outcomes from indoor environmental and air quality characteristics: a systematic review and meta-analysis

In this working paper, we are conducting a meta-analysis on the raft of literature related to worker health and productivity outcomes based on variations of the indoor environmental quality in buildings. From these findings, we aim to better we intend to estimate the effects of indoor environmental and air quality on health and productivity outcomes (for a variety of age groups and worker types).


Authors: Palacios, Eicholtz, Kok, Aydin

Journal: Real Estate Economics

Author: Zheng, Kahn, Wu, Deng

Journal: European Economic Review

Authors: Palacios, Eicholtz, Kok

Journal: PLOS One

New York City Local Law 97: An Analysis of Institutional Response & Decision Making Towards Groundbreaking Carbon Emissions Legislation

Author: Kristopher Steele

Master's Thesis

Image by Jack Young

Driven by our research outcomes and MIT's project-based learning mission, we have developed relevant coursework for MIT students across disciplines.

Our proposed course, Sustainable Real Estate will add to the curriculum and educate future leaders at the intersection of sustainable real estate, urban planning, design, health economics, digital technology, and business.

Via hands-on action learning, students will tackle the human health and well-being issues from the perspective of the building industry using digital technology-enabled innovation. This course has been made possible by the MIT J-WEL Higher Education Innovation Grant awarded to the teaching team in May 2020.

Three key learning goals:

Knowledge Mapping: students will better understand the lineage of healthy building economics, practices, and innovation strategies

Skills Amplification: Students from MIT’s 6 six schools already come with an expansive skill set. We intend to incubate those skills through action learning. Students will gain a holistic understanding of the technological and regulatory innovation, user experience to execute solutions that resolved current user experience and product deficiencies


Communication and Storytelling: Through multi-stakeholder engagement, students will build capabilities in problem-solving and relaying ideas to different stakeholders. Students will learn to create feedback loops to hypothesize, test, iterate, and learn in a cyclical pattern.

Education Diagram.jpg
Image by Jo Szczepanska

Holistic industry engagement with active practitioners is critical to understand and advance human health and well-being in the real estate industry. We will create a global network and outreach strategy. Co-creation workshop, webinar, and Innovation Challenge will be the main channel of our engagement.


Our network includes leading Real Estate corporations, research institutes, universities, the US Green Building Council, the China Green Building Council, and Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).


We will continue to connect with practitioners across the globe in order to form long-term partnerships over the next 3 years.

Co-Creation Workshop


Healthy Buildings Innovation Challenge

Team Meeting
The Team
  • Siqi Zheng, Professor

  • Juan Palacios, Post-doc Researcher, 

  • Zhengzhen Tan, Executive Director of Sustainable Urbanization Lab, Research Scientist

  • Fabio Duarte, Principal Research Scientist, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

  • Kristopher Steele, AIA, Research Associate, Master of Real Estate Development, Master of City Planning, 

  • Carl Hooks, Research Analyst