What's good for the earth is good for us. So it won't surprise you that sustainable buildings have health benefits for the people who work and live in them. A recent peer reviewed study out of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment found that a building’s air quality can affect the quality of its residents’ thinking. This study highlights the impact of the built environment on human health. This is why greening healthcare institutions is a sensible approach, particularly considering hospitals and other health facilities are supposed to nurture us back to health. Health professionals can get involved in many ways, begriming within their own institutions. Climate for Health has a host of resources for you to begin. After all, as Rick Fedrizzi writes in the Guardian below, "In the coming year, buildings will no longer be considered green if they only do less harm. More of the places where we live, work and learn will begin to actively and intentionally protect and restore our health."
By Rick Fedrizzi I December 29, 2015
Over the past 20 years, green construction has gone from a niche enterprise to a major driver of new business. But in 2016, erecting sustainable, profitable green buildings will no longer be enough to stand out. Buildings will also be expected to directly contribute to the health and wellbeing of the people who live, work and learn inside them. For buildings, healthy will become the new green.
The performance of a green building – be it energy usage, water efficiency or just lower utility bills – is important to companies looking for rental space. As this healthy revolution emerges, more of these commercial renters will start concerning themselves with a building’s impact on the performance of the humans who use it every day.
There’s already some evidence to suggest healthy buildings have positive effects on the businesses and workers who occupy them. In a recently released peer reviewed study, researchers from Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment found that a building’s air quality can affect the quality of its residents’ thinking. The study demonstrated that exposure to common indoor pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in everything from paint to carpets, can affect cognitive functions. The researchers wrote: “For seven of the nine cognitive functions tested, average scores decreased as CO2 levels increased to levels commonly observed in many indoor environments.”
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