Designing Green Buildings with a focus on health

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 While Sustainable buildings are built for safeguarding the environment and helps save for energy costs, it should also benefit the overall well-being of the people living inside those buildings.

According to an article by Chris Hellstern of the website Daily Journal of Commerce (http://www.djc.com/news/en/12098663.html), the common practice for evaluating buildings was that several designers and building rating systems would focus mainly on a building’s performance.

But just recently, there has been a growing shift on how this is being handled as health and wellness for the residents of the building are now a significant part of the equation.

Hellstern has added that there is now real, hard data which suggests how important health considerations are during a building design process. Case in point: A 2016 study done by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health discovered that better indoor environmental factors was linked to improved productivity and better cognitive function.

“These results suggest that even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers,” said Joseph Allen, lead author of the research.

The focus on health

As mentioned on the report provided by Harvard University, several noticeable improvements on health were found during the research period: “Measuring nine cognitive function domains, researchers found that the largest improvements occurred in the areas of:

  • crisis response (97% higher scores in green conditions and 131% higher in green+)
  • strategy (183% and 288% higher)
  • information usage (172% and 299% higher)

In addition, when researchers looked at the effect of CO2—not normally thought of as a direct indoor pollutant—they found that, for seven of the nine cognitive functions tested, average scores decreased as CO2 levels increased to levels commonly observed in many indoor environments.” (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/green-office-environments-linked-with-higher-cognitive-function-scores/ )

Although this directive is fairly new, it becomes important for builders to consider the health impact on occupants when designing sustainable buildings. When this is added to reductions in energy consumption, water consumption and environmental deterioration, then the chances for green buildings to be the main option for the future would greatly increase.

Supporting the benefits of green buildings

Health-focused parameters aside, buildings will play a major role in the sustainability of communities. There will be more reasons for adding health-based designs for buildings, and its benefits would be too hard to ignore.

Companies such as PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com.