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Green-certified buildings best for health

Green buildings do more than just help the environment. According to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and SUNY Upstate Medical University, they also improve the health and cognitive function of the people within them.

l to r Dr Joseph Allen, Dr Usha Satish, Dr Piers MacNaughton, Dr Jack Spengler
l to r Dr Joseph Allen, Dr Usha Satish, Dr Piers MacNaughton, Dr Jack Spengler

A United Technologies-supported study of 109 workers in 10 buildings in five US cities found that people working in green-certified buildings had 26% higher cognitive function scores, 30% fewer sick building symptoms and 6% higher sleep quality scores than workers in similarly high-performing buildings that were not green-certified.

Participants in green buildings also had 73% higher crisis response scores; 44% higher applied activity level scores, reflecting their greater ability to gear decision-making towards overall goals; and 38% higher focused activity level scores, indicating a greater capacity to concentrate on specific tasks.

This study builds on a 2015 COGfx Study – COGfx is shorthand for your brain’s cognitive function – which found significantly higher cognitive function test scores for offce workers in a simulated green building environment with better ventilation than a conventional building.

John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at United Technologies, said: “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.”

The full report The Impact of Working in a Green Certified Building on Cognitive Function and Health is available at

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