Buildings consume nearly 40% of primary energy production globally. Certified green buildings substantially reduce energy consumption on a per square foot basis and they also focus on indoor environmental quality. However, the co-benefits to health through reductions in energy and concomitant reductions in air pollution have not been examined.
Thirty years of public health research have demonstrated that improved indoor environmental quality is associated with better health outcomes. Recent research has demonstrated an impact of the indoor environment on cognitive function. We recruited 109 participants from 10 high-performing buildings in five U.S. cities. In each city, buildings were matched by week of assessment, tenant, type of worker and work functions. A key distinction between the matched buildings was whether they had achieved green certification.