We think better in green buildings, Harvard study shows

A study by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University has shown that green buildings have a positive link to higher cognitive function for workers.

The report notes that we "spend about 90% of our time indoors, and buildings have a unique ability to positively or negatively influence our health".

Twenty-four professionals such as architects, designers and engineers took part in a six day longitudinal study of cognitive performance and building conditions in Syracuse, New York.

Participants were exposed to conditions representative of "conventional and green office buildings in the U.S., as well as green buildings with enhanced ventilation."

(Green buildings benefit) human health while minimising energy consumption

At the end of each day, participants were administered a cognitive test using a "Strategic Management Software Executive Decision tool", which tests live decision making performance by simulating real-world scenarios.

It has been used by more than 70,000 participants worldwide over the last six decades.

A diagram of project results (Harvard)

The method allowed researchers to understand any changes in cognitive function that might be attributable to building design features.

On average, cognitive scores were 61% higher in green building conditions and 101% higher in enhanced green building conditions.

The report notes that the findings have "far ranging implications for worker productivity, student learning, and safety" and that green buildings benefit "human health while minimising energy consumption".

Read more about the study here.

Top image: Rafael Viñoly’s design for the largest green roof in the world

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