Bill Hayward developed the Hayward Score to, as he puts it, “harness the power of consumer demand” to improve housing. It’s a simple questionnaire that anyone can take for free. You log in at and answer 50 questions about your house. It takes about 10 minutes.

The survey starts with questions about the materials and configuration of the home to assess its general characteristics and systems, its location, and its proximity to environmental hazards like busy roads and gas stations or dry cleaners and such. There are questions about moisture, including ones about the presence and use of ventilation fans, and indoor conditions, such as where occupants store cleaning and personal care products and other household chemicals. And then there are a range of questions about health symptoms that occupants feel may be related to their homes. These can’t provide an absolute causal link between symptoms and the home, but when matched up with the presence of pests and environmental factors inside and outside the home, as well the use habits around bath fans and range hoods (or the lack thereof), Hayward Score can draw correlations and suggest improvements to indoor conditions that could alleviate the health symptoms if those conditions are in fact the cause. This all gets rolled up into an overall score and presented with a customized five-page report that gives clear action items, so participants can take steps to improve conditions aimed at transforming the indoor air quality and ultimately their health.

Hayward Score keeps in touch with participants, sending them periodic emails to help them keep up their progress and improve their score. In the process, Hayward Score gets feedback not only on how houses are improving but also on how occupant health may be improving. From this, Hayward Score is able to capture a lot of data on the link between homes and the health of occupants. It tracks 23 medical symptoms and is now the largest study on health and housing ever created, assessing more than 80,000 homes and counting. While the Hayward Score is provided to the homeowner, it proves to be a good tool for building professionals to point their clients to, as many of the improvements suggested by the report (such as installing whole-house or point-source ventilation and addressing leaks, mold, or other building failures) are often beyond the scope of DIY. —Clay DeKorne

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