Glass Buildings

Healthy Buildings

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

Green Indoors


A Global Study from the Owner’s Perspective

         This research aims to examine the healthy building adoption pattern by looking into two critical market conditions: What is a healthy building? What is its financial value for tenants and owners? In the existing literature. There is some early evidence of a real estate price premium for specific indoor environment quality (IEQ) and design features. At the level of health-focused building certification systems (BCS), there is no empirical and quantitative research on healthy building’s financial performance, except theoretical models. We conducted interviews with executives from 15 real estate corporations across the globe to examine real estate owner's perspectives and strategies for this emerging market. The interview results confirm that the scarcity of empirical evidence linking healthy building attributes to financial returns presents the mainstream adoption barrier. Heterogeneity on owners’ adoption patterns is driven by building ownership structure at the firm level, tenants, end-users, and building conditions.  Firms’ strategies for pursuing healthy building range from risk mitigation to proactive pursuit of new growth opportunities. Private equity funds and real estate investment trusts (REITs) firms tend to focus on the former, while direct real estate investment firms are more likely to adopt proactive strategies to lead the adoption curve.

Co-authors: Zhengzhen Tan,  Siqi Zheng, Juan Palacios, Carl Hooks


MIT Center for Real Estate Research Paper Series, Market Adoption of Healthy Buildings in the Office Sector: A Global Study from the Owner’s Perspective (Link)

International Real Estate Review, coming soon

Human health & productivity outcomes from indoor environmental and air quality characteristics:

A Systematic Review

         How does the indoor building environment affect human behavior, health, and performance? We searched PubMed, from database inception to October 15, 2020, for relevant studies in classroom, lab, and labor environment at any level of indoor air quality. No restrictions on language, workers’ health status, or study design were applied. Good and bad indoor air quality was defined using American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. We excluded studies that calculated effects focusing on air temperature, humidity levels, systematic reviews on similar topics to avoid duplication, and any grey literature. Of 101 reports, 42 studies conducted in 10 countries and 3 continents, including 6,850 subjects were eligible for analysis. Our review showed that individuals exposed to indoor air quality settings above ASHRAE minimum standards (defined as ventilation rates 17 CFM per person and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) steady states of 1000 parts per million (ppm)) were more likely to experience increased poor levels of health, performance and productivity under these conditions. 

         Poor indoor air quality has important human health, performance, and productivity outcomes and should be recognized as a public health problem. Inversely, improved indoor environmental conditions delivered through enhanced ventilation strategies should be considered a health, performance, and productivity opportunity. This study addresses these areas of concern and opportunity. However, given the lack of standardized methodologies, results reporting criteria across conducted air quality analyses, and a lack of international case studies, a concerted global effort is needed to conduct and compare research with standardized metrics. Furthermore, a majority of studies are conducted in school classrooms or laboratory environments or provide no remuneration to incentivize good performance - a condition not reflective of real-world office settings. To better understand the implication on office workers, additional field research can serve to enhance our understanding of indoor environmental factors on employee health and productivity in a setting where remuneration incentives may impact performance.

Co-authors: Juan Palacios, Kristopher S Steele, Siqi Zheng


MIT Center for Real Estate Research Paper Series, Human health and productivity outcomes from indoor environmental and air quality characteristics: a systematic review (Link)


Authors: Palacios, Eicholtz, Kok, Aydin


Real Estate Economics

The Role of Public Information in Increasing Homebuyers’ Willingness-to-Pay for Green Housing

Author: Zhang, Sun, Liu, Zheng


Ecological Economics

Author: Zheng, Kahn, Wu, Deng


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

Co-Creation Workshop