6 November 2015
An American study has demonstrated that a high-quality indoor environment has a significant and positive impact on cognitive function.
Improved indoor environmental quality doubled participants' scores in cognitive function tests, according to a study by researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.
The study, The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function, found that employees' cognitive performance scores averaged 101 per cent higher in green building environments with enhanced ventilation when compared with a conventional building environment.
"We know that green buildings conserve natural resources, minimise environmental impacts and improve the indoor environment," said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at sponsoring organisation United Technologies, "but these results show that they can also become important human resource tools for all indoor environments where cognitive abilities are critical to productivity, learning and safety."
The double-blind study evaluated the cognitive performance of 24 participants who experienced conditions in a laboratory setting that simulated those found in conventional and green buildings, as well as green buildings with enhanced ventilation.
Researchers measured basic, applied, and focused activity levels; task orientation; crisis response; information seeking; information usage; breadth of approach; and strategy. The largest improvements in cognitive function occurred in the areas of crisis response, information use, and strategy.
The study was conducted at the Total Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory at the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Syracuse, New York.