Design for Health

Photo © Colin. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.


Design and building professionals: you’re on call. Health is not just about the doctors and nurses; interior spaces, buildings, and communities have far-reaching impacts on wellness. Design choices can:

  • help prevent mold and moisture issues

  • provide fresh air

  • ensure access to clean drinking water

  • prevent exposure to toxic chemicals

  • encourage fitness

  • support healthy circadian rhythms

Too often, though, our buildings do the opposite. These articles lay out best practices for health-focused design, based on sound scientific research.

  • Can We Replace Foam Insulation?
    June 27, 2013

    Feature Article

    There are a lot of reasons to avoid foam, but its high performance can make it a hard habit to kick, as designers are finding out.

  • Doing Daylighting Right
    March 26, 2012

    Feature Article

    Harvesting daylight is a popular way to save energy and promote productivity. But getting it wrong is all too easy-and can have the opposite effects.

  • How Six Affordable Housing Projects Got to Green
    October 6, 2017

    Feature Short

    Stories of designers and developers who overcame the challenges of building affordable housing that is also green, sustainable, and healthy.

  • Antimicrobial Chemicals in Buildings: Hygiene or Harm?
    August 2, 2007

    Feature Article

    Carpets, door handles, and a myriad of other building products now contain pesticides targeting fungi and bacteria, offering potential benefit to the indoor environment, but also raising health concerns. This article asks whether antimicrobial products live up to their marketing claims and whether relying on them is a sound path to a hygienic environment.

  • The Evolution of Exit Signs (and Why the Latest is a Bad Idea)
    October 27, 2006

    Feature Article

    Searching for reliable, energy-efficient exit signs, EBN's Alex Wilson explains why photoluminescent exit signs, one of the newest "energy-saving" devices, are one of the worst from a total-energy-use standpoint. The article reviews current technology, including LED and electroluminescent exit signs, and offers recommendations.

  • Biophilia in Practice: Buildings that Connect People with Nature
    July 9, 2006

    Feature Article

    Biophilia, or human beings' inherent love for nature, has been called "the missing link in sustainable design." EBN's Alex Wilson helps readers understand biophilia, describes why it is important relative to building design, and presents specific design strategies for bringing people closer to nature.

  • Passive Survivability: A New Design Criterion for Buildings
    May 3, 2006

    Feature Article

    Buildings and their occupants are vulnerable to threats ranging from storms and rising sea levels to accidents and terrorism. In this feature article, EBN describes how to design and construct buildings to maintain livable conditions in the event of extended power outages or loss of heating fuel or water.

  • The Water We Drink: Softeners, Filters, and Other Treatment Options
    April 3, 2006

    Feature Article

    Although our nation's tap water is among the best in the world, most Americans are concerned about its quality. This article explores the range of technologies to treat real and perceived water-quality problems.

  • Case Study: Structure Tone Headquarters, New York, NY
    June 6, 2017

    News Analysis

    Well-being at Work: The first WELL-certified project in New York City supports employee health and promotes collaboration.

  • LBC Projects Get Head Start on WELL Certification
    May 30, 2017

    News Brief

    Describing how their rating systems complement each other, ILFI and IWBI encourage use of both certifications.