Dr. Joseph G. Allen is an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity, with John Macomber at Harvard Business School. He began his career conducting forensic health investigations of sick buildings in several hundred buildings across a diverse range of industries, including healthcare, biotechnology, education, commercial office real estate and manufacturing.
At Harvard, Dr. Allen directs the Healthy Buildings program where he created "The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building." He is also the faculty advisor to the Harvard Healthier Building Materials Academy. He works with Fortune 100 companies on implementing Healthy Building strategies in their global portfolios and presents internationally on the topic of Healthy Buildings. His work has been featured widely in the popular press, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, Time, NPR, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Fortune and The New York Times.
Dr. Allen is an associate editor of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology and an associate editor of the journal Indoor Air. He earned his Doctor of Science (DSc) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees from the Boston University School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology from Boston College.
If you’re sitting in a typical American home, office building, or school, about 3 percent of the air you inhaled recently came out of the lungs of the people in the room with you right now. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the interior designers and HR professionals who decide how offices look paid little attention to ventilation—an invisible variable that determines whether people can think well at their desk and whether coughs and colds will circulate within a company. But as companies and their employees ponder what the post-pandemic office will be like, the cool new amenity won’t be a foosball table. It’ll be something we should have had all along—clean air. In this keynote, Dr. Joseph G. Allen will discuss why your building manager has a bigger impact on your health than your doctor—and relatively low-cost upgrades that will improve offices for everyone inside.
**For HR professionals, executive leadership, office managers, and concerned employees**
More of us than ever are now worried about indoor air quality because of Covid-19. But we should be talking about indoor air long after the pandemic ends. In this keynote, Dr. Joseph G. Allen shares the latest research conducted by his team at the Harvard Healthy Buildings Program that shows the quality of indoor air—for example, at work or school—can influence the number of sick days you or your child takes and may even affect how well your brain works. Dr. Allen and his team found that poor indoor air quality is associated with subtle impairments in several cognitive functions, including our ability to concentrate and process information. The good news is that many of the changes being made to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are the same improvements that need to be made to improve the overall air quality linked with cognitive function and worker productivity.
**For HR professionals, parents, employees, and anyone who has fallen asleep in the middle of an important meeting**
In the late 1970s, in response to the global energy crisis, we started to tighten up our buildings and, in the process, choked off the air supply to conserve energy. In doing so, we ushered in the sick building era. In this keynote, Dr. Joseph G. Allen shows how better air quality and ventilation can actually lead to bottom-line gains for businesses. His Harvard research and financial simulations found that the benefits of higher ventilation alone are estimated to be between $6,500 and $7,500 per person, per year. That’s because greater ventilation leads to significantly better cognitive function performance of employees. It’s good for worker health and productivity.
**For office managers, executive leadership, commercial real estate investors, and building developers**