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February 19, 2021

Healthy Air Episode #6

HA 1 |Indoor Air Quality

Episode #6 Improving a building's impact on human cognition and health | Simon Turner - Founder of Building Cognition LLC

In this episode, Simon Turner shares the biggest changes he’s seen in buildings throughout his career. Simon’s interest for the past 30 years has been the impact of buildings and their features on human cognition and health. He served as the CEO of Healthy Buildings International – a company he grew and sold after 32 years in the industry – as well as his current role as Building Cognition, where he helps CEOs and real estate executives find ways to make their buildings more productive.

Simon has credentials in LEED AP and WELL AP, holds an HND in Applied Biology from Nottingham City University, and was recently honored as a Life Member of the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Keeping air safe has never been more important. Now that we are in the next normal, it is critical that the air we breathe in shared indoor spaces is healthy and safe for continued occupancy. Are we ready to face this challenge and mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors? Welcome to Healthy Air, a podcast that talks about the future of buildings and how to keep air safe and healthy. Keep up with the latest industry trends, latest technologies, and regulatory changes with your host, Erik Malmstrom, industry experts, and the SafeTraces team here on Healthy Air.


  • An overview of Simon’s background [1:00]
  • How Simon got started in the indoor air quality industry [1:42]
  • A history of how the awareness around this industry started [3:54]
  • How the pandemic has affected the indoor air quality industry [8:30]
  • Commercial Real Estate and how the industry is responding to the pandemic [11:45]
  • Why ventilation is so important in mitigating risk [14:46]
  • The dollars and cents of indoor air quality [20:07]
  • How are building owners validating how well a building is ventilated [22:20]
  • The implications of building indoor air quality for public health [24:55]
  • Looking back at the last 30 years, what changes can we anticipate in the next 10 years [30:02]
  • What resources Simon uses to stay up to speed in his own knowledge [33:30]
  • How listeners can follow Simon [35:34]



“This pandemic blindsided a lot of people. It just came out of the blue and now buildings are empty, employees aren’t coming to work and everything changed boom, overnight.”

“Expecting regulators to pick up on all the nuances quickly, when they were under competing pressure from different elements of society to get it right, must have been bewildering.”

“Some policymaking left me bewildered that we’d limit exposure to outdoor air and ask people to stay indoors when it was clear the best-ventilated spaces were the safest spaces.”

“Personally, I think the commercial real estate industry will never be the same again.  Everything has changed.”

“Many buildings are much better ventilated than people’s own homes. Early in this pandemic I learned that very few people realized how badly ventilated their own homes were.”

“When ventilation rates doubled, large increases were seen in people’s ability to process information, manage risk, make executive decisions, and execute higher-order mental processes.”

“Around the country, depending on climate, it’s estimated it would cost between $14 and $40 per person per year to double ventilation rates.”

“A building’s selling points should be less focused on whether or not it has a prestigious address, and more focused on its ability to improve the productivity of the people who work there.”

“The commercial real estate industry in general needs to listen very carefully to what it’s tenant employers that rent space and buildings want.”