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Green-certified buildings better for health study finds

Green buildings do more than just help the environment, contributing to the health and cognitive function of the people within them, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and SUNY Upstate Medical University, supported by United Technologies.

Studying 109 workers at 10 buildings in 5 cities across the U.S., researchers discovered that those working in green-certified buildings had 26% higher cognitive function scores, 30% fewer sick building symptoms and 6% higher sleep quality scores compared to those in similarly high-performing buildings that were not green certified.

The findings also show participants had 73% higher crisis response scores, 44% higher applied activity level scores, which reflect ability to gear decision-making toward overall goals, and 38% higher focused activity level scores, which reflect capacity to pay attention to tasks at hand.

The study builds on the team’s 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 to a conventional building environment.

John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer, 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 will be available soon at

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