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Current Projects

 Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is conducting a consensus study to examine the formation and function of microbial communities in built environments, the impacts of such microbial communities on human health, and how human occupants shape complex indoor microbiomes. This study is intended to provide an independent, objective examination of the current state of science regarding built environment microbiomes and their impacts on human health and then attempt to bridge gaps in moving this research to an application stage in which building materials and architecture will be designed with microbiomes in mind. The study is conducted by a committee of experts and the consensus report is expected to be released in 2017.

 

A Strategy for Applying the Business Case for Renewal of Federal Facilities

Over the past 25 years, the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE) has overseen numerous studies to identify the appropriate levels of investment to keep the large inventory of federal buildings and facilities in a good state of repair. The underlying “business case” was that periodic reinvestment would prolong useful service life and reduce costs in the long term. Although the business case has largely been accepted in principle, securing the necessary funding to apply it broadly across the federal government has proven to be far more challenging. There are several reasons for this including the annual (rather than multi-year) focus of federal spending, the difficultly of linking asset condition to mission performance, and the continued growth of the federal real property portfolio. Lacking a straightforward and expedited process for disposing of excess and unneeded assets, mission-critical facilities compete with them for limited renewal funds. This project will assist federal agencies in applying sound business case principles by focusing on an implementation strategy for the many excellent recommendations contained in prior studies. The study is sponsored by the Federal facilities Council and the consensus report is expected to be released in 2018.