The indoor environment you work in is actually much more important to your cognitive functioning than you may realize. After all, you probably spend about 90% or more of your time indoors and at work. It makes sense to study the effect of indoor environments on your work performance, your health, and how your surroundings affect the way you think. The studies performed in the COGfx Study show clear evidence that even small green changes made in indoor environmental quality can impact cognitive function and your overall wellbeing.
The NIH-funded COGfx Study was performed in conjunction with professors at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment together with SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University researchers. The COGfx Study findings showed that when the quality of the indoor environment was improved, those working in that building had significantly better cognitive function test scores.
The COGfx Study is formally known as The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function Study. Its findings link the indoor environments with test scores related to decision-making skills and intelligence. During the study, 24 office workers would go about their normal daily routine, unaware that from the floor below their offices, the office environment was being modified with enhanced air quality changes. At the end of the work day, the office staff was asked to take a cognitive function test.
Keep the following information in mind while reading the results of this study. Conventional commercial buildings normally have indoor environmental conditions that include carbon dioxide levels of 950ppm, ventilation rates of 20cfm and between 500-700 micrograms per cubic meter of volatile organic compounds.
An enhanced green indoor environment is optimized for productivity, with just 600ppm of carbon dioxide levels, a 40cfm ventilation rate of outdoor air and less than 50 micrograms per cubic meter of volatile organic compounds.
Amazing results were found after the tests were scored, with cognitive performance of workers doubling over past performance scores. The COGfx Study showed participants improved cognitive thinking to be 101% higher with enhanced ventilation in the building as opposed to the ventilation in conventional offices. Other functions of cognition studied included crisis response, with scores which proved to be 97% higher in the sustainable environment and 131% higher in the enhanced green environs. Strategic thinking skills were 288% higher in enhanced green environments, and information usage scores, 299% higher.
Work performance in an optimized environment can account for more productivity, enhanced thought and happier, healthier workers with a few modifications in air environmental quality. In addition to enhanced green workspaces, building owners are also looking into WELL certification and LEED certification. Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) works with builders to become qualified for WELL and LEED certification to support tenants’ wellbeing and health by providing pure air levels that are particle- and allergen-free, in addition to other standards of wellness. Learning how to maintain, operate, and improve the existing indoor environment is one part of LEED certification and training.
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) offers commercial builders, engineers, and other industry professionals the opportunity to take in-person classes in LEED Exam Prep training. Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) has an impressive 95% pass rate for their students on their first exam sitting. SIG is a well-known expert and industry leader in sustainability for the commercial real estate field. By the Fall of 2016, SIG will offer WELL AP Exam Prep training classes.
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