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Leveraging COVID-19 Building Upgrades to Address Synergistic Environmental Health and Equity Priorities

Adele Houghton

COVID-19 has highlighted the role that building design, ventilation, and operations play in the transmission of infectious disease. Buildings are also pivotal to injury and death rates during climate-related diseases. Properly designed and operated, they can protect occupants from heat, flooding, wind, and other hazards. On the other hand, if structural, mechanical, or other building systems fail, they can contribute to casualties. Many of the strategies used to protect building occupants from the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic could be designed to also protect them from climatic events and to enhance health equity. This presentation will demonstrate how the public health concept of “co-benefits” can be used as a method for leveraging COVID-19 renovation funds to prioritize the design and operations strategies that will generate the broadest health and financial benefit over time.

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