Green Buildings Enhance Health and Productivity
If you seem to get an asthma attack every time you're at work, or if you feel dizzy, fatigued, and leave work with a headache more often than not, you might be suffering from sick building syndrome.
From the volatile organic compounds in wall paints, especially in newly constructed or renovated buildings, the formaldehyde in particle boards, to the minute particles that printers churn out, poor ventilation makes the very air in your workplace unhealthy. Air circulation that isn't filtered and many other factors make up the unhealthy effects of buildings that weren't designed with the health of their inhabitants in mind.
A new study finds that employees who move from buildings with poor indoor environmental quality to more healthful "green" buildings may reap some benefits, including less absenteeism and higher productivity, both of which might potentially translate into upward mobility at the workplace for those who are ambitious.
The green buildings that are LEED certified aren't focused solely on conserving electricity, gas, and water, they also feature better lighting, ventilation, acoustics, and ergonomic design to enhance the experience of those who work in the space.
Researchers from Michigan State University did two case studies evaluating the physical and mental health status of people who moved from traditional to green office buildings. One scenario involved 56 people and the other 207, and employees were asked through surveys about absenteeism from work in both types of buildings for asthma, allergies, depression and stress-related conditions. They were also asked about productivity in the two settings.
The study appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Wouldn't it be great if every building were a green building that helps us feel better and work better? After all, how much time do all of us spend inside a physical, man-made construction of some sort? Whether it's at work, at home, in a hospital, at schools, in stores, we and our loved ones are almost constantly indoors. Let's support the green building movement for the sake of our health, if nothing else.