Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) are more common in other countries, but are gaining ground in the U.S. The San Francisco Department of Public Health has spurred their use here, and is behind the Oakland study.
"More a combination of processes and methods than a simple tool, Health Impact Assessment (HIA) measures potential health effects that a project or policy-such as a housing development or traffic ordinance-might have on a population."
Private developers are even getting on board, seeing the healthiness of a building as a marketing factor.
"'If there's a perception that features can lead to health benefits, I think it will have a demand by occupiers,' says Scott Muldavin, executive director of Bay Area–based Green Building Finance Consortium."