Workers in Green Certified Buildings Are Healthier and Happier

Monday, December 5, 2016

Green Building Elements (10/16/16) Hanley, Stephen

People who live in buildings certified as green by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) enjoy many advantages over those who work in non-certified high-performance buildings, according to researchers at Harvard University's School of Public Health and the State University of New York's Update Medical University. The team found working in green-certified buildings correlates with higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick building symptoms, and higher sleep quality scores. In 2015, the researchers conducted their COGfx study, which found workers in a simulated green building environment with enhanced ventilation had significantly higher cognitive function compared to a conventional building environment. In addition, the study found employees working in green-certified buildings had 73-percent higher crisis response scores, 44-percent higher applied activity level scores, 38-percent higher focused activity level scores, and 31-percent higher strategy scores. "Certified green buildings not only deliver environmental benefits, they can have positive impacts on the productivity and thinking of the people in those buildings," says United Technologies chief sustainability officer John Mandyck. Based on these findings, the researchers believe a holistic approach is needed. "We're advocating for what we call Buildingomics—a new approach that examines the totality of factors in the building-related environment," says Harvard professor Joseph Allen.

Stephen Hanley 12/5/2016

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