Do people make smarter decisions in green buildings?
A new study has found that employees’ cognitive performance scores averaged 101 percent higher in green buildings compared to conventional buildings. John Mandyck, United Technologies Chief Sustainability Officer says:
“The payback for improved indoor environmental quality far outweighs the investment, considering that more than 90 percent of the costs associated with a building are related to the people who work within it once construction is completed”.
What did the study reveal?
The double-blind study evaluated the cognitive performance of 24 participants who experienced conditions in a laboratory setting that simulate those found in conventional and green buildings, as well as green buildings with enhanced ventilation.
Researchers measured cognitive function for nine functional domains including:
basic, applied and focused activity levels
breadth of approach
Interestingly, the largest improvements in cognitive function test scores occurred in three main areas:
What’s the take home message on green buildings and cognitive function ?
The study suggests that indoor environments can have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers, which is a primary indicator of worker productivity, which every business wants to encourage.
Cognitive function scores were better in green building conditions compared to the conventional building conditions across nine functional domains, including crisis response, strategy, and focused activity level.
On average, cognitive scores were:
61 percent higher in green building conditions
101 percent higher in enhanced green building conditions
CO2, VOCs, and ventilation rate all had significant, independent impacts on cognitive function.
Researchers said that as the study was designed to reflect indoor environments encountered by large numbers of people every day, these findings would have far ranging implications for worker productivity, student learning, and safety.
What does green building design involve?
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.
Green cleaning is also critical to green building conditions. It’s no good having a green building if the chemicals used to clean the very surfaces that building users interact with every day are cleaned with toxic substances.
You can read more on the study here, more about green buildings here and more about commercial cleaning using green cleaning techniques and products here.