• Building Energy Management
  • Intelligent Building Technologies
  • Building Systems
  • COVID-19

Healthier Indoor Spaces Are Coming

Neil Strother
Oct 08, 2020

Guidehouse Insights

Sometimes it takes a pandemic to jump-start a trend, which is what's happening in the commercial buildings space. The coronavirus outbreak spurred intense activity toward creating healthier and safer indoor spaces.

Building Health and Safety Take Center Stage

Trane Technologies has launched a Center for Healthy and Efficient Spaces. The center is an effort to create safer, healthier, and more effective environments for buildings, homes, and transportation globally. The company is taking a holistic approach to the healthy indoor space and seeks to move beyond just indoor air quality to other aspects affecting indoor environments, e.g., lighting, acoustics, temperature, and humidity. “Whether you’re at home, work, school, on a bus, or in a delivery vehicle, you want to feel safe and well,” said Rasha Hasaneen, vice president of innovation and product excellence for Trane. Hasaneen will be the center’s director.

In a separate move, Armstrong announced an expansion of its focus on selling its Health Zone ceiling and Clean Room Grid systems. Instead of strictly targeting hospitals and healthcare facilities with these products, Armstrong aims to entice owners of all building types. The products seem suited for modern use cases as the Health Zone ceilings feature tiles resistant to the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, or odor. The tiles are also water-repellent, washable, sustainable, recyclable, and safe for use with the Center for Disease Control’s recommended disinfectants.

Modern Standards Have Steady Support from Real Estate Companies

On the standards front, the Center for Active Design’s Fitwel certification system announced the formal launch of its Viral Response module. The module provides annual, third-party certification of policies and practices informed by public health research on reducing the spread of contagious diseases. A number of leading real estate companies have committed to adopting the module, including: BentallGreenOak, Boston Properties, Brookfield Properties, DLC Europe, Hudson Pacific Properties, Kilroy Realty Corporation, Nuveen Real Estate, and The Tower Companies.

It is encouraging to see vibrant activity around health and safety. Tenants need to be assured the built environments where they work, live, and play are as healthy as possible—during a pandemic or not. With broad and sustained efforts toward healthy indoor environments, we can all breather a little easier.