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Indoor Environments and Green Buildings

Buildings in the United States account for a large share of our energy and water consumption, CO2 emissions, and solid waste. The built environment also has a significant impact on health and productivity. People in the U.S. spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be 2-5 times higher than outdoors—pollutants such as radon gas, mold, dust, lead paint, combustion products, chemicals emitted by consumer products or building materials, and other contaminants drawn into buildings from outdoors. As we work to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change by making buildings more efficient, attention to indoor air quality becomes especially important.

Policy makers and public officials face considerable challenges in developing and implementing policies that will effectively address a variety of pollutants and building practices. In the absence of a comprehensive federal regulatory scheme, states and local governments play leading roles in meeting these policy challenges.

The Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Program provides decision makers and the public with the information they need to create and strengthen policies and programs that advance health and sustainability in the built environment. We offer in-depth policy analysis, education, and technical assistance to help institutionalize best practices for creating and maintaining buildings, with a focus on supporting state and local efforts to ensure healthier schools and homes.

To access the wide variety of policy resources developed under the Program, please visit our Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center.