A ‘Green’ Building Makes You Smarter

There may be even more reason to go green, besides the potential energy costs savings. It could improve your health and your thinking too, a new study finds.

Researchers from Harvard, Syracuse University, and SUNY Update Medical Center conducted a study to see how the built environment can influence the way you think. They studied participants in an environmentally controlled space in a lab for six days, changing the air quality to meet a typical office building, a green office building, and a green office building with enhanced ventilation. They did this by changing the amount of volatile organic compounds and CO2 in the air. Study participants were then given cognitive tests.

The indoor built environment plays a critical role in our overall well-being. We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, and buildings have a unique ability to positively or negatively influence our health. This study was designed to simulate indoor environmental quality conditions in green and conventional buildings and evaluate the impacts on an objective measure of human performance—cognitive function.

Participants performed at a rate of 61 percent higher on the cognitive tests in the greener building condition, and 101 percent higher in the enhanced green building condition compared to a typical office environment.

“Because this study was designed to reflect indoor environments encountered by large numbers of people every day, these findings have far-ranging implications for worker productivity, student learning, and safety,” according to the study. “Green building design that optimizes employee productivity and energy usage will require adopting energy efficient systems and informed operating practices to maximize the benefit to human health while minimizing energy consumption.”infographic-green-build-cog-function

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

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