The study by Harvard University researchers in the USA showed that better IAQ improved doubled the score of participants in a series of cognitive function tests. In the study (The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function), employees working in green building environments with 'enhanced ventilation' scored, on average, 101% better than when working in a traditional building environments.
"When it comes to the decision-making ability of green building occupants, intelligence is in the air.
"We know green buildings conserve natural resources, minimize environmental impacts and improve the indoor environment, but these results show they can also become important human resource tools for all indoor environments where cognitive abilities are critical to productivity, learning and safety.”
"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.”
Dr. Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said:
"This 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.”
“These results are provocative for three reasons. First, they suggest that the levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds that we commonly encounter in conventional office buildings are associated with decreases in worker performance compared to when those same workers are in green building environments.
“Second, when we enhance ventilation and optimize indoor environmental conditions, we see improvements in the cognitive function of workers. And third, these results fill important knowledge gaps in existing research about the relationship between green buildings and occupant health."