Those of us in industries that work to optimize indoor air quality (IAQ) get to see first hand what study after study has shown — that improving ventilation in buildings results in significant productivity improvements. In fact, research has demonstrated that the increased productivity can be valued at an average of $6,500 per employee per year and a 162.5 times return on the costs to improve the ventilation systems.
One prominent study, “Economic, Environmental and Health Implications of Enhanced Ventilation in Office Buildings,” was conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical, Syracuse University and Carrier.
Findings of research on productivity and IAQ factors such as ventilation and temperature
Similar to not having enough natural lighting in our indoor spaces, poor ventilation and air quality are common problems that should be addressed in many office, institutional, and industrial spaces. While green building practices that employ healthier and more energy and resource-efficient design and construction methods can sometimes seem hard to quantify, these advanced methods are proven to have direct and significant effects on the people who occupy our built environment and, in turn, a direct effect on the bottom line of the businesses they work for.
The Harvard research cited above found that in addition to air quality, “temperature had an effect on workers. When they worked under a standard comfortable temperature and humidity range, they performed better on the tests of decision making, independent of which building they were in.”
If you’d like to learn more about this important research, we suggest taking a look at this Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Stale office air is making you less productive.”