International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate News

In Memoriam: Hal Levin

Hal Levin was a passionate architect and a pioneer of indoor air quality research and advocacy. Throughout his rich and long career, Hal conducted research and consulted on buildings’ impacts on occupant health and comfort. Since the 1970s, he was actively promoting the integration of knowledge about indoor and outdoor air pollution into the design, construction, and operation of residential, educational, and commercial buildings and communities. He was consistently sharing his understanding of the term “sustainability” in building research and design: prioritize environmental and human challenges, specify acceptable limits, identify the impacts of each choice, and use weighted criteria to select the most sustainable solutions.
In 1987, Hal gave an invited plenary talk at the Indoor Air conference in Berlin entitled "What architects can do to improve indoor air quality." This talk was an introduction of foundational indoor air concepts to many of the attendees.  Prior to widespread use of the internet Hal started the Indoor Air Bulletin to alert readers to recent publications and worked to bring researchers and practitioners together between conferences. He played an active role in the foundation of the ISIAQ society. In addition, he was the President of the 9th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate Indoor Air 2002, Monterey, California, and he was the ISIAQ Executive Director from 2008 to 2016.  Recently, he was extremely involved in the microbiome topic and participated to the Alfred P. Sloan Program on the Microbiology of the Indoor Environment (MoBE). 
Hal was educated at Cornell University and University of California Berkeley where he earned a B. Arts degree in English (1964) and the professional degree, B. Architecture (1969). He served as a volunteer architect in the Peace Corps in Colombia (1966 to 1968). He was Research Specialist at the Center for Environmental Design Research at UC Berkeley (1978-1989) and a Lecturer in the Department of Architecture (1978-1983). He was also Lecturer in the Board of Studies of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz (1978-1983). He was Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2000-2005) and an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health (2009-2012). Throughout his career he led the Building Ecology Research group. His legacy continues as he used funds from the 2002 conference in Monterey to establish the Indoor Air Institute, which is currently supporting the financial success of Indoor Air 2024.  You can hear Hal’s description of his career in his own words in his 2010 interview on IAQRadio (
In 2018, during the 15th Indoor Air Conference held in Philadelphia, he received the Lifetime Service Award for his exceptional contributions in service to the indoor air sciences. This is the last conference where most of us saw Hal ”in person.” He was sharp and enthusiastic in sharing his thoughts and ideas.

We remember Hal for his principled stands on indoor air quality and the well-targeted pitches that he delivered on senior baseball teams well into the 2010s. Hal is survived by his wife Mariachiara and sisters Nancy Levin and Ellen Jacobs.

ISIAQ Board of Directors
Academy of the ISIAQ Fellows

Photos courtesy of Mariachiara Tallacchini.
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