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WorldGBC launches Air Quality in the Built Environment campaign

We spend 90% of our time indoors and it’s estimated that 92% of the air in the places we live is unsafe to breathe. That’s why 30 GBCs as part of our Better Places for People global project are working to combat global air pollution from the built environment and today launching an Air Quality in the Built Environment campaign. We believe that sustainable buildings and cities are a key part of the solution to reducing both the health and environmental impacts of global air pollution.

The campaign is in partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), a global programme led by UN Environment, dedicated to reducing the impact of short-lived climate pollutants on both human health and climate change.  The aim of the World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) campaign is to increase awareness, develop understanding and kickstart actions from a global audience across the building and construction sector.

Catriona Brady, Head of Better Places for People, World Green Building Council said: “This campaign is a major milestone to promote a healthier and more sustainable built environment.  We’re delighted to be working with so many green building councils and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to raise awareness of how green buildings are part of the solution.”


Campaign key messages 

The campaign will focus on the following messages:

  • Reducing ambient outdoor emissions: 
    • Operational emissions: Reducing the impact of the built environment on global air pollution by limiting emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants to benefit human health, the natural environment, and limit the construction sector’s contribution on climate change.
    • Embodied emissions: Endorsing strategies to lower emission of greenhouse gases from the full life cycle of a building. Aiming to increase awareness of the health and environmental threats of unsustainable construction practices, as well as impact of material transport, demolition and waste across the supply chain.
  • Mitigating sources of indoor air pollution:
    • Materials: Promoting the importance of sustainable, non-toxic and air-purifying building materials to limit exposure to the release of pollutants within buildings
    • Building fabric: Developing awareness of the importance of building fabric and construction quality, as well as the role of retrofitting existing stock, to lower the risk of damp and mould
    • Ventilation: Champion appropriate ventilation strategies to achieve energy efficiency and health priorities for efficient indoor air management
  • Radically improving sustainable operation of buildings: 
    • Prevent the emissions multiplier effect: Endorsing sustainable design, operation and retrofit of buildings that protect inhabitants from polluted outdoor air with conscious avoidance of the emissions multiplier effect
    • Minimise indoor pollution: To increase understanding and present solutions to the health and environmental threats of indoor air pollution, in both developing and developed nations
  • Increasing global awareness:
    • Developing recognition of the impact of the built environment on global air pollution, including understanding of threats to human and planetary health and the consequential economic impacts.
    • Presenting solutions and promote calls to action for a range of stakeholders; including citizens, business and policy makers.

The campaign supports the achievement of the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:


3. Good Health and Wellbeing

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

11. Sustainable Cities

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

13. Climate Action

17. Partnerships for the Goals

The campaign features 12 images available as social media assets which will be promoted by GBCs and participating partners for three weeks starting 24 April 2019. The campaign assets are available here. Around 30 GBCs are participating in Better Places for People, our programme dedicated to promoting a healthier and more sustainable built environment.  For more information please contact Catriona Brady