Evidence mounts on health, productivity benefits of sustainable work spaces

High-performance green buildings are linked to better job performance.

February 14, 2017 |

Photo: Arlington County, flickr Creative Commons

New research has added fuel to the notion that working in a green-certified building improves productivity, job performance, and occupant well-being.

New studies, led by Harvard University and SUNY Upstate Medical University, found that workers in high-performing green buildings showed higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick-building symptoms, and higher sleep quality scores than workers in high-performing buildings lacking green certification. Thermal conditions and lighting influenced employee perception of their space and their cognitive function, one of the researchers says in a Society for Human Resource Management article.

A "high-performing building" was defined as meeting ASHRAE standards. A "green-certified" building was defined as meeting ASHRAE standards and obtaining LEED certification.

Another factor in constructing a healthy work environment could be low levels of VOCs [volatile organic compounds] and formaldehyde, which have adverse effects on indoor air quality. These compounds can become airborne by off-gassing from paints, sealants, adhesives, carpet, and furniture.

Healthy buildings can be a recruiting tool, the article also points out.

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