BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 24 October '16

Workers in certified green buildings record higher cognitive functions scores

Employees who work in certified green buildings have been found to have higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick building symptoms and higher sleep quality scores than those working in non-certified buildings, according to a new report from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

The report found that employees in high-performing, green-certified buildings had 26% higher cognitive function test scores than those in similarly high-performing buildings that were not green certified.

The researchers studied 109 workers at 10 buildings in five cities across the US, and found that they had:

  • 73% higher crisis response scores
44% higher applied activity level scores, which reflect ability to gear decision-making toward overall goals
  • 38% higher focused activity level scores, which reflect capacity to pay attention to tasks at hand
  • 31% higher strategy scores

Better sleep

In addition to these statistically significant findings, the study also found that employees reported 30% fewer sick building symptoms and had 6% higher sleep quality scores compared with those working in high-performing buildings that were not green-certified, indicating that benefits of green buildings may extend beyond the workday.

‘Certified green buildings not only deliver environmental benefits, they can have positive impacts on the productivity and thinking of the people in those buildings. That’s a powerful combination that can accelerate the green building movement globally.’

John Vandyck
Chief sustainability officer at United Technologies

The study builds on the 2015 COGfx Study. COGfx is shorthand for your brain’s cognitive function – which found significantly higher cognitive function test scores for office workers in a simulated green building environment with enhanced ventilation compared with a conventional building environment.

The full report, ‘The Impact of Working in a Green Certified Building on Cognitive Function and Health’, – will be made available here.