The indoor built environment plays a crucial role in our well-being, both due to the amount of time we spend indoors and the ability of buildings to positively or negatively influence our health.

Ventilation has proven to be a key factor in optimal indoor air quality. Recently, demand controlled ventilation has been required for large densely operated spaces. Demand controlled ventilation controls the amount of outside air based on the CO2 level in the space.
Studies have shown that conventional building design has often led to compromised indoor environmental quality (IEQ), including decreased ventilation which can lead to increased concentration of indoor pollutants.Building-related illnesses and sick building syndrome (SBS) were first reported in the 1980s as ventilation rates decreased with significant annual costs and productivity losses due to health symptoms attributable to the indoor environment.

A recent U.S. study of 24 participants spent 6 full work days (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) in an environmentally controlled office space, where they were exposed to IEQ conditions representative of both Conventional (high volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration) and Green (low VOC concentration) office buildings.

Additional conditions simulated a Green building with a high outdoor air ventilation rate (labeled Green+) and artificially elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels independent of ventilation.

The study found that, on average, cognitive scores were 61% higher on the Green building day and 101% higher on the two Green+ building days than on the Conventional building day (p<0.0001). VOCs and CO2 were independently associated with cognitive scores.*

This study shows cognitive function scores were significantly better in Green+ building conditions compared to the Conventional building conditions for nine functional domains.

These findings have wide ranging implications because this study was designed to reflect conditions that are commonly encountered every day in many indoor environments.
In essence, we can see there is a link between indoor air quality (IAQ) and cognitive ability, affecting decision making performance, which is ultimately linked to a company’s bottom line.

By ensuring that your building has a properly designed and installed HVAC system, you can mitigate the risk of poor indoor air quality, and create optimal conditions for health and productivity.

Outside air rates should be designed as per ASHRAE 62, the code for ventilation for acceptable indoor air quality.

BC Comfort can design and install the best IAQ  solution to your workplace to ensure that your staff decision making is not poor. For more information, contact our Design team today.

*Source: Environmental Health Perspectives Research Article