Harvard research shows Green Buildings help people think better

The indoor built environment plays a critical role in our overall well-being. We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, and buildings have a unique ability to positively or negatively influence our health.

Research at Harvard University shows that people working in green buildings register cognitive scores are 61-101% higher!

The Harvard study was designed to simulate indoor environmental quality conditions in green and conventional buildings and evaluate the impacts on an objective measure of human performance—cognitive function. Cognitive function scores were better in green building conditions compared to the Conventional building conditions across nine functional domains, including crisis response, strategy, and focused activity level.

On average, cognitive scores were:

  • 61 percent higher in green building conditions
  • 101 percent higher in enhanced green building conditions

CO2, VOCs, and ventilation rate all had significant, independent impacts on cognitive function.

Because this study was designed to reflect indoor environments encountered by large numbers of people every day, these findings have far ranging implications for worker productivity, student learning, and safety.

Green building design that optimizes employee productivity and energy usage will require adopting energy efficient systems and informed operating practices to maximize the benefit to human health while minimizing energy consumption.

Further information

March 13, 2018