Project: Smarter Buildings for Healthier Communities

Meiling Gao is the Chief Operating Officer at Clarity Movement Co, an environmental cleantech startup based in Berkeley, CA USA. Clarity creates hardware and software technologies that make it easier to measure the air quality around us and use that data to make actionable insights. Clarity works with NGOs and the private and public sectors in over 20 countries around the world to find solutions to global air quality issues. 

Prior to Clarity, Meiling conducted research on the health impacts of urban development in China and the climate and air quality impacts of agricultural intensification in Colombia. Meiling holds a PhD from University of California Berkeley School of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences, a MS from Harvard University in Environmental Health, and BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT. 


I’ve always been interested in understanding the complexity of environmental issues. In urban areas especially, how we design our cities, communities, and buildings are critical in influencing our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. These decisions at the top affect us collectively and as a result, I have always examined energy, transportation, urban planning policies through a health angle - not just physical health but mental and emotional as well - to determine how this will impact people. Because the causes of environmental issues and as a result, public health issues are multi-varied, they are difficult to solve without collective sustainable action across many sectors. I’m motivated to work in this climate action effort because there are so many synergies I see across public health, air quality, and energy projects to help us reach our climate goals. 

Therefore, my project is aimed to introduce a human health element into a conversation that has primarily been focused on energy - commercial building efficiency. By adding this additional variable for consideration, I’d like to see how we can both achieve our energy goals while making sure we providing clean indoor environmental for people.

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