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J Environ Health. 2014 Mar;76(7):8-16; quiz 60.

Health and housing outcomes from green renovation of low-income housing in Washington, DC.


Green building systems have proliferated recently, but studies are limited of associated health and housing outcomes. The authors measured self-reported resident physical and mental health, allergens, and building conditions at baseline and one-year follow-up in a low-income housing development being renovated in accordance with green healthy housing improvements (Enterprise Green Communities standards and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design [LEED] gold certification). Self-reported general health in adults significantly improved from 59% to 67% (p = .026), with large statistically significant improvements in water/ dampness problems, cockroaches and rodents, and reduced pesticide use. Median cockroach (Bla g1) and mouse (Mus m1) allergen dust loadings showed large and statistically significant reductions from baseline to three months postintervention and were sustained at one year (both p < .05). Energy and water cost savings were 16% and 54%, respectively. Incorporating Enterprise Green Communities and LEED standards in low-income housing renovation improves health and housing conditions and can help to reduce disparities. All green housing standards should include health-related requirements.

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