live / 2020

The LA Healthy Building Alliance

The LA Healthy Building Alliance

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles

USGBC-LA is launching a Healthy Building Alliance for the L.A. Region to create a commitment that building owners, tenants, & individuals can make to provide healthy, resilient space to live, work, & play. It entails 5 simple principles around building & occupant health: Indoor Air Quality, Inspire Movement, Access to Nature, Green Cleaning, & Water Testing. The goal: create commitment, generate valuable data, & provide resources to support the journey for all Angelenos to experience healthy environments.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project or new program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Property owners generally want to provide healthy spaces, especially when they see the data on increased long-term asset value, but the current rating systems & engagement process are too complicated & expensive to produce scaled impact. The COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for better monitoring systems, improved air quality, & to provide healthier, more resilient spaces. There is also a dramatic need for data around indoor air & local water quality, especially in multi-family buildings in DACs to build the case to channel funding to these communities. Greater evidence links poorly constructed, maintained & located housing to many health conditions, including asthma, lead poisoning & mental health issues, as well as more ER visits & hospitalizations. Healthier buildings focus more on energy efficiency & water conservation, lowering utility bills. Families who struggle to make rent, move frequently or experience homelessness, face a much greater risk of adverse health outcomes.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

USGBC-LA has a proven reputation for excellence, impact, environmental behavior & cultural change, through outreach, education, program management, & community-based projects: Health & Wellness training helps LA lead in healthy building certifications, there is a huge gap in affordable & market-rate multi-family housing; Green Janitor Education Program certifies janitorial workers in office buildings in principles of green cleaning, energy efficiency, & water conservation (1,400+ empowered grads, & with buildings show a 5.6% average energy reduction); we facilitate sustainability & resilience training/workshops across LA helping small businesses build capacity, identify no/low cost ways to save energy & water; provide benchmarking support for building owners to help comply with the City’s EBEWE ordinance; assist homeowners with sustainable rebuilding post-wildfires; & promote sustainability in under-served communities through annual Legacy Project granted to local community groups.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

750
Direct impact
15,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

The program goal is to create a local movement around providing healthy space and raise awareness around how the health of our spaces impacts us all personally. Direct impact - 5 pilot projects at avg 50 units = 250 units at avg 3 family members per unit = 750 people directly impacted. USGBC-LA will target large affordable housing owner operators at 1,000+ units = 5,000 units and 15,000 occupants indirect impact. This program will help parents provide a healthier environment for their children, reducing financial costs, & burden to the family & healthcare providers. The deliverables will become a toolkit to better the health of the tenant population, potentially as part of financing requirements for affordable housing across the region.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Ultimate success for the Healthy Building Alliance is to provide healthy spaces for all Angelenos to live, work, & play in. We need to create a low barrier to entry experience for people to learn about their spaces: current condition, how they impact personal health, and how to improve them. Our project is data driven by an underlying principle that once people have access to data & an understanding of what it means, they will work to improve the results, especially when it involves the health of themselves & their families. Our project will collect data through Tenant Surveys, Indoor Air Quality Sensors, & Water Testing. Success will be determined by incremental improvements against the baseline. While all types of spaces can make a commitment to health through the Alliance, we will start with affordable housing to shine a light at the heart of the equity issue in the built environment. There’s a need for data on these buildings to demonstrate that often poorly built and maintained multi-family properties need increased investment, and we will provide a toolkit for owners, operators, and developers to improve tenant heath through building systems, maintenance, and materials. Success for us through this funding will be to launch the program; produce successful pilots with a minimum of 5 properties in DAC’s in LA County, with at least one specifically in South LA, East LA, & the Eastern San Fernando Valley; release of a toolkit for participants going forward; & the program experiencing organic growth during this timeframe.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Housing affordability
  • Air quality
  • Resilient communities

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation