A Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

We have long known that buildings play a critical role in infectious disease transmission. We’re making sure they’re part of the coronavirus conversation, too.

We have established that healthy building environments play an important role in combatting the spread of infectious disease, including coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Read about the latest news, research, reports, and tools we’ve developed to fight COVID-19 transmission and ensure that healthy buildings can be used to control the spread both now and as we move forward

COVID-19 Risk Calculator

We created a tool to help you better understand how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in indoor environments using affordable control strategies. Learn how mask wearing, social distancing, personal hygiene, portable air cleaners, ventilation, and activity can contribute to the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure. Creation of this tool was based off of modeling of multiple super-spreader events in some of our latest research (Azimi et al., 2021).

Portable Air Cleaner Sizing Tool (PACS)

The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the importance of indoor air quality since airborne transmission is the dominant exposure pathway for SARS-CoV-2. Proper ventilation and filtration can help improve building occupants’ health by removing airborne particles from the air.

The Harvard Healthy Buildings Team developed a portable air cleaner sizing tool (PACS) to choose properly sized air cleaners for indoor spaces based on the room dimension, ventilation level, and air changes per hour. In reverse, the calculator can also be used to define the appropriate room size for air cleaners.

Maximum CO2 Concentration Calculator

The maximum CO2 Concentration Calculator supports the use of real-time carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors indoors. Users enter their target air changes per hour, room size, and occupancy. In return, the tool calculates the estimated CO2 concentration to help evaluate ventilation rates in indoor environments.

Engagement with The Lancet COVID-19 Commission

Harvard Healthy Buildings Webinar on Improving Indoor Air Quality in Long-Term Care Facilities with Members of the Lancet COVID-19 Task Force for Safe Work, Sage School, and Safe Travel.


Dr. Joseph Allen is chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission’s Task Force for Safe Work, Safe School, and Safe Travel. Click the photo to visit their site for detailed, scientific guidance on the recovery and safety of these necessary indoor spaces.

Recent COVID-19 News and Op-Eds

Relevant COVID-19 Research

Apr 26, 2024
Home indoor air quality and cognitive function over one year for people working remotely during COVID-19
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Apr 9, 2024
Mandating Indoor Air Quality for Public Buildings: A Vital Public Health Strategy
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Sep 15, 2022
The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic
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Feb 4, 2022
NASEM: Aviation After a Year of Pandemic – Economics, People, and Technology: A Workshop
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Feb 4, 2022
NASEM: Flying in the COVID-19 Era–Science-based Risk Assessments and Mitigation Strategies on the Ground and in the Air: A Workshop
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