Green buildings aim to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on the natural environment while protecting occupant health and improving productivity. Research conducted by Harvard University, Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University show a surprising link between healthy indoor environments and improved cognitive function.
"This research suggests that the health and productivity benefits far outweigh energy costs and environmental impacts can be mitigated through a variety of readily available strategies. It is time we move away from ventilation designed for merely acceptable indoor air quality and move towards design for optimal indoor air quality. We have been presented with the false choice of energy efficiency or healthy indoor environments for too long. We can - and must - have both."
Dr. Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Chan School, Principal Investigator for the study
Participants worked in a controlled office environment at the Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab at SyracuseCoE HQ for six days while researchers exposed them to various simulated building conditions. Researchers found that cognitive performance scores for those who worked in the "green" environments were, on average, double those of participants who worked in conventional environments.
Introduction by John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer, United Technologies Corporation.
MEET THE EXPERTS
Dr. Joseph G. Allen, Assistant Professor, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Usha Satish, Professor, Department of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University
Dr. Suresh Santanam, Associate Professor, Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, Syracuse University
Piers McNaughton, Doctoral Candidate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health