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“Buildingomics”: The Scientific Case for Built Positive

A cursory look into the public health or building science literature will demonstrate the benefits of “building green”. There is over 30 years of research that demonstrates the physiological and psychological influence buildings exert over their occupants. Amongst other benefits, research indicates that an individual’s work environment can influence their efficiency, performance, overall health and even quality of sleep. 

A study published at the beginning of 2017 investigated the impact on employees who work in green certified buildings, compared to those who work in uncertified buildings.

The study took place in ten office buildings in the U.S., six of these buildings were renovated based on a green certified framework, the remaining four buildings weren’t. Over the period of a week, workers were administered cognitive function tests, designed to mimic the sort of thinking that is required in our day-to-day lives.

The study found that workers in green certified buildings scored almost 27% higher on cognitive function tests, had 30% fewer “sick building symptoms” (such as headaches and eye and respiratory irritation) and recorded 6% higher sleep scores after they left work, compared to those in non-certified buildings.

A fundamental pillar of Built Positive is using safe ingredients that alleviate the negative human and ecological health impacts from their use. The findings of this study highlight why this is so vital. It was found that the lower levels of CO2 and volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, allergens, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter in green buildings can explain the differences in employees’ performance, overall health and quality of sleep.