June 10, 2019

 In 1950’s America, cigarette smoking was the epitome of cool and glamour. Hollywood icons such like James Dean were never without one. Screen beauties such as Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich made smoking look sensual and sophisticated. Even a future president - Ronald Reagan - was handed free packs of Chesterfield during his B-movie days. By the late 1950s, around half of the industrialized world smoked. Fast forward seventy years and America is now dealing with some of the highest rates of asthma, lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease, in the world. And the link between the built environment and these harmful diseases is even more astounding. For these reasons, green building programs are leading the charge to help improve occupant health and wellbeing.

  In apartment buildings, tobacco smoke from both indoor and outdoor areas can make its way into buildings through windows, doors, ventilation systems, and air leaks in the building envelope. Because of the health risks of both smoking and second-hand smoke, green building programs incentivize or require excluding smoking from inside buildings and limiting smoking to outside areas. Below is a brief summary of how common green building certification programs promote smoke free environments.

Green Building Program Comparison


Points Available/ Required



1-2 points

Non- smoking signage inside and outside the building

LEED Multifamily


Smoking in common areas prohibited. This is communicated and enforced in the lease agreement. Provide signage to allow smoking in designated areas, prohibit smoking in designated areas, or prohibit smoking on the entire property. Optional 1 point available for no smoking throughout the entire building, including within dwelling units. 

Enterprise Green Communities

10 points

No- smoking policy in all common and individual living areas and within a 25-foot perimeter around the exterior of the building 


2.96 points

Smoke free building site

Indoor airPlus


Smoking in common areas prohibited. This is communicated and enforced in lease agreement. Provide designated smoking areas. Minimize smoke transfer between units by sealing penetrations and applying weather stripping.

 Each program takes a slightly different approach to addressing smoking. While LEED and Indoor airPLUS forbid smoking in all common areas as a minimum certification requirement, the other programs provide points for smoke free programing.

There are numerous benefits of smoke free policies for property owners and asset managers beyond simply helping attain green building certification. Non-smoking properties have lower turnover costs and are faster to lease to non-smoking tenants. In Georgia, properties can gain additional recognition through the Breathe Easy program. BreatheEasy Georgia provides free resources and support to apartment operators to help implement smoke-free policies. BreatheEasy Georgia also promotes smoke-free properties through their recognition program and provides resources for managers and residents on the benefits of smoke-free living. 

SK Collaborative is committed to promoting safe, sustainable, and healthy homes. We can guide you through the process creating a smoke- free living space and gaining BreatheEasy Georgia recognition. Contact info@skcollaborative.com to learn more about how to create a happy and healthy home.