LEED-Certified Affordable Housing Has Positive Impact on Asthma, Research Finds

A study in the Spring 2013 edition of Progress in Community Health Partnerships examined the effect of residents with asthma living in “Melrose Commons V (MCV), a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified affordable housing complex in the South Bronx. Participants completed a home-based respiratory health questionnaire before moving into MCV. Follow-up occurred at 6, 12, and 18 months post-move. A home-based educational module was delivered on indoor environmental interventions to avoid asthma triggers. A pretest was given before the module and a post-test was given 9 months later, including an evaluation of behavioral practice changes. Outcomes included decreases in continuous daily respiratory symptoms, asthma symptoms disrupting sleep in the past month, and urgent visits to a healthcare professional for asthma in the past 3 months. Clinically relevant outcomes included fewer days with asthma symptoms; asthma episodes; days of work, school, or daycare missed; and emergency department visits. Education changes from pretest to post-test included increased knowledge about dust mites, roaches, mold, and chemical irritants. Common behavioral changes included using hypoallergenic mattress covers, using green cleaning products, and eliminating bedroom carpets.” The study’s authors note that “findings support the beneficial effect of LEED Platinum-certified buildings on respiratory health. Trends may be clinically and economically relevant. Advocacy efforts should promote the expansion of green housing and emphasize the development of healthy communities.” The abstract is available online.