Healthy buildings are becoming the new standard in construction and renovation projects. They were already quite popular some years ago and have been growing steadily since then, but the market has definitely seen a peak in popularity since the return to office debate began last year.
Accelerated by the pandemic and the growing change in the way we work, everyone became more aware of the impact of a building on their health. Since we spend so much of our time indoors, 90% of our time to be precise, it is only logical that we care so much about the spaces we spend our time in. And naturally, this applies not only to our private spaces but also to our working and office spaces.
Buildings can indeed have a direct effect on your health if not maintained correctly or/and ventilated. This is why the Harvard researchers stated this notorious claim:
“The person who manages your building has a bigger impact on your health than your doctor. And this person just may have as big an impact on your bottom line as your CFO.”
The good news is that, following the same thought, healthy buildings can also have a direct positive effect on your health. Do you know how?
Our team at Clairify has put in a lot of hours to analyze market reports, surveys, academic studies, and research papers to highlight the most important benefits of a healthy indoor environment on your health.
Here are the top health benefits of working in a green, healthy building:
- You and your colleagues would get sick less often, meaning that the frequency of sick leave would drop drastically. Based on data from over 3,000 workers across 40 buildings, research shows that 57% of all sick leave was because of poor ventilation.
- Sick building syndromes drop by 30% in high-performing healthy buildings according to Harvard researchers. Not sure what sick building syndrome is? If you've ever experienced irritated eyes, nose, or throat after a long day at the office, or have maybe suffered from headaches and dizziness, then you've experienced the so-called sick building syndrome.
- You can get a much better physical health experience. To be precise, indoor air quality that is within healthy boundaries leads to a 62% better overall physical health experience. This is even more notorious if you suffer from respiratory complications or asthma, for example. You can take a look at the full survey here.
- Mental health improves when working in a healthy building. Exactly! Not only physical health is positively affected by healthy buildings, but also our mental health. According to this survey, 53% of people experience better mental health working in healthy indoor air quality conditions.
- You think clearer and make better strategic decisions. High-performing healthy buildings increase your strategic thinking by 31% and focus up to 38%. You could argue that healthy indoor air quality could help you get that promotion.
- Information usage can be 4x higher. This means that you are more capable of using both provided information and collected material toward attaining overall objectives. In green-certified buildings with high ventilation, low-levels of CO2 and gas concentrations (TVOC), information usage increased by 299%, strategic thinking by 288%, and crisis response by 131% compared to regular buildings. And no, there is no coma missing in those numbers, you could really be using the available information 4 times more effectively.
- High-performing buildings can enhance your productivity by 3 to 9% on average. Combining the unique design elements that make up a healthy work environment such as light, acoustics, indoor air quality, nature views, drinkable water, etc. led to a productivity gain. One research of Twente University and CBRE showed even higher productivity improvements, with values between 10 to 45%.
- You sleep better. Yes, a healthier workspace can help you better. Sleep quality scores improved by 6.4% for people in high-performing green-certified buildings vs. high-performing, non-certified buildings. Most offices are too dark and need more daylight inside. A greater difference between daytime and night-time light exposure increases melatonin, a hormone that stimulates sleepiness, being released in the evening.
- Plants can contribute to overall peace of mind through Biophilia: the intrinsic affection of humans to a vision of nature. These researchers looked at the influence of plants in the workspace and discovered that participants experienced a higher degree of performance and a better mood when working in a set-up with a higher number of plants around them.
- Healthy buildings have a positive effect on your long-term health. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of people live in an environment with too much air pollution. Indoor air quality can be 2–5 times more polluted than outdoor air because the pollutants accumulate inside. Various ambient air pollutants are harmful to your body’s vital system and can result in respiratory, nervous, and cardiovascular complications. Certified healthy buildings have strict criteria on ventilation, filtration, and active indoor air quality monitoring to keep pollutants away from your working space and offer you a healthy space to work in.
- Thermal comfort can improve your cognitive abilities by 5.4%, meaning that the right temperature & humidity levels could help you be more productive. Thermal comfort is understood as a temperature & humidity range, where more than 90% of the building's occupants feel comfortable and satisfied with the climate conditions. Healthy buildings aim to keep the building as close to the thermal comfort range as possible.
We believe that everyone deserves to work in an office space that prioritizes the employees' health and well-being. One excellent way to start working towards a better indoor environment is by monitoring the indoor air quality inside the building and optimizing the indoor spaces to better fit the ocupants needs.
We can help you build a plan to improve your working spaces and create a healthier office environment. Let's have a chat!