The health impact of green workplaces was the subject of a new article, The Impact of Working in a Green Certified Building on Cognitive Function and Health , by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and SUNY Upstate Medical University. Researchers studied 109 workers at 10 buildings and found that employees who worked in certified green buildings had higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick building symptoms and higher sleep quality scores than those working in non-certified buildings. The research was sponsored by United Technologies. For an overview of ongoing research at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , go to its Nature, Health and the Built Environment website . Other related information is available at the World Green Building Council’s “Better Places for People” website .
From a management point of view, an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Air Pollution making office workers less productive” (September 29) reports on the effect of air pollution on call-center workers at Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency. The authors conclude that these office workers are 5%–6% more productive when air pollution levels are rated as “good” (an Air Quality Index of 0–50) versus when they are rated as unhealthy (an Air Quality Index of 150–200). Productivity was measured by completed calls each day, length of breaks, and time logged in.
All this points to the importance of green building. World Green Building Week began on September 26, 2016 – preceded by an agreement amongst the national green building councils from 10 countries (including Canada) to adopt zero net carbon certification programs by the end of 2017. See the World Green Building Council press release for a description of the meetings, including the definition of “zero net carbon” (ZNC) as advanced by the architectural network, Architecture 2030 .