Medical Xpress (07/09/15)
The health benefits of green buildings are summarized in the first comprehensive review of studies of green buildings conducted by Joseph Allen and his team of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers. The review included 15 studies and found green buildings have better indoor environmental quality when compared with traditional buildings that confer direct health benefits to the building occupants. Occupants of green buildings enjoy better indoor air quality, and are more satisfied with their workspaces, building cleanliness, and maintenance. Occupants of green buildings also are exposed to fewer allergens, pollutants, and environmental contaminants such as formaldehyde. In addition, the studies found there is less absenteeism, fewer reports of symptoms of sick building syndrome, higher productivity, better mental and physical health, and lower turnover among occupants of green buildings. One study of green hospitals showed improved quality of care, fewer blood stream infections, improved record keeping, and lower patient mortality. One area green buildings need to improve is acoustics and noise levels. Allen and his team note the studies relied mainly on subjective data, and propose mobile health sensors to obtain more objective data of the health performance of green buildings.