‘Healthy’ buildings can improve workers’ performance

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Improving lighting, ventilation, and heat in office buildings can boost workers’ performance and productivity and can even help them sleep better at night—which is why developers, architects, and businesses are becoming increasingly interested in “healthy” buildings.

In a March 10, 2017 article in the Boston Globe, Joseph Allen of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that working in an office with higher air quality and better ventilation can raise employees’ cognitive function scores, and that shifting to more blue-enriched light that mimics sunlight can lead to better sleep quality.

“We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, yet we spend almost all of our time thinking about outdoor air pollution,” said Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science in Harvard Chan’s Department of Environmental Health and director of the three-year-old Healthy Buildings program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment. “What we’re doing here is quantifying what people intuitively know. When you’re stuck in a conference room that’s too hot, there’s no ventilation, you don’t perform as well.”