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Health Co-Benefits of the Built Environment

Meet the CoBE Team

Joseph G. Allen, DSC, MPH, CIH

Director of the Healthy Buildings Program

Dr. 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.

Dr. Allen earned his Doctor of Science and Master of Public Health degrees from the Boston University School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Boston College.

Sandra Dedesko

MASc, P.Eng, WELL AP, WELL Faculty, WELL Advisor

Sandra is a PhD student in the Healthy Buildings team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Sandra’s focus is on high performance buildings that promote human health and environmental sustainability. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a licensed Professional Engineer. Prior to beginning this PhD, Sandra worked as a consultant in the sustainable buildings industry and developed multiple tools focused on energy and health considerations, including a policy calculator for the municipal government and a resiliency assessment tool for a private sector client that won multiple sustainability awards. Sandra advises on the development of building design standards and teaches in academia and industry on sustainable building design.

Jonathan Buonocore

Jonathan Buonocore, Sc.D. is a Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His research mainly focuses on evaluating the health impacts of energy systems, and modeling health “co-benefits” of climate mitigation strategies and energy policies, largely in the United States. He has evaluated air pollution related health impacts from a number of sectors, including electricity generation, transportation, buildings, and oil and gas production. He has also modeled the health co-benefits of strategies including further buildout of renewable energy in the United States, Federal carbon emissions standards on power plants, carbon cap-and-invest policies for transportation in the Northeast U.S., and building electrification. His current and future research includes building methods to better incorporate equity and environmental justice (EJ) concerns, and other unintended consequences.

Parichehr Salimifard, PH.D.

Co-PI of the CoBE Project

Dr. Parichehr Salimifard is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University.

Dr. Salimifard is a Co-PI of the Co-benefits of Built Environment (CoBE) project, leading the CoBE team at Oregon State University and collaborating with other CoBE team members at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health, developing the next versions of CoBE tool and its various modules including co-benefits of specific climate policies, water savings co-benefits of built environment, energy conservation pathway optimization, and building-to-grid integration.

Dr. Salimifard’s research interests fit under the umbrella of Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Buildings, with crossovers to fluid dynamics, aerosol science, energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental health. One of her main research areas is indoor environmental quality, particularly control and mitigation of building occupants’ exposure to contaminants and allergen- and virus-carrier particles indoors. Dr. Salimifard has conducted research on aerosols dynamics and sensing – more specifically on particle transport, deposition and resuspension, and aerosol sensing and size characterization. She has also worked on building energy modeling and investigating the trade-offs between the energy conservation measures installation and indoor air quality.

Before joining Oregon State University, Dr. Salimifard was a postdoctoral fellow in the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She earned her Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering – Mechanical Option with a minor in Computational Science at Penn State University. She earned her B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on fluid mechanics and heat transfer from Persian Gulf University, Iran.

Joseph Pendleton

Joseph is a junior at Brandeis University majoring in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. His interests include environmental policy, energy use, and applied ethics. At the Healthy Buildings Program, he is assisting with the design and launch of the Co-Benefits of the Built Environment (CoBE) tool. He is also working with the CoBE team to research building performance standards policies in major cities, such as New York City’s LL97. For a forthcoming report on women’s health in the built environment, Joseph is researching the impacts of extreme temperature and humidity on women. Finally, Joseph is contributing to the methodology design of a study from the COGfx team.

Mahala Lahvis

Research Assistant with the Healthy Buildings Program

As a research assistant at Healthy Buildings, Lahvis is focused on the Co-Benefits of Built Environment (CoBE) tool, working alongside Parichehr in analyzing energy savings and health and climate co-benefits of improving sustainability in the built environment. She has also started water savings-related research. Her interests include sustainable cities and international sustainable development. Lahvis earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International & Global Studies and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University.

Brian Sousa

Brian is a Research Assistant for the Co-Benefits of the Build Environment (CoBE) study, which focuses on quantifying energy savings and health and climate co-benefits of improving sustainability in the built environment. He is currently working on development for the CoBE tool and the implementation of future features.

Brian graduated in 2020 from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Applied Physics. His interests focus on the impacts of climate change on the environment and health, and how we can work to mitigate these impacts through a public health lens.