Healthy buildings are often thought of as shiny new buildings; however, we see healthy buildings as a process instead of a result. The ten facts below show how and why healthy buildings impact daily life.
#10 - Americans spend ninety percent of their time indoors
Healthy buildings protect us and optimize our productivity where we spend most of our life. For example, if you live to be 90 years old, on average, you will have spent 81 years indoors. That doesn’t mean we’ve lost our love of the outdoors; healthy buildings also maintain that outdoor views must be preserved because data suggests humans perform better in these environments.
#9 - Seventy percent of a business overhead is spent on employees
For businesses, healthy buildings couldn’t be more critical. Most businesses’ actual overhead cost is not in the building, electricity, or upkeep of machinery; it’s in the people through salaries and benefits. So if you’re spending money to optimize your electricity bill, it only makes sense to optimize it for the people inside. After all, why spend money on the best employees or equipment if you’re not going to help them work as efficiently as possible?
#8 - Healthy buildings increase rent
Healthy buildings are not just good humanitarian practices but good business practices. For example, one study indicated rent increases between 4-8% when comparing healthy buildings to similar regular buildings.
#7 - Your building manager likely has more impact on your health than your doctor
This was a recent statement in Healthy Buildings: How indoor spaces can make you sick – or keep you well. So it should be no surprise that spending eight hours a day in an office that routinely has poor air quality, unregulated temperatures, or inadequate lighting may lead to adverse outcomes that a doctor’s visit can’t fix. Healthy buildings are the cure for these problems and lead to increased productivity.
#7 - Poor Ventilation is as impactful on performance as being hungry
Fifteen years ago, a study was conducted to determine the impact of poor ventilation on students. Testing during periods of poor ventilation showed decreases in the power of attention. The deficits students suffered were equivalent to not eating breakfast and being hungry testing. This is why we say that healthy buildings are more than just disinfected buildings; they make students test better.
#6 - Great ventilation improves performance
This fact should be #1, but we have more fun facts for that slot. Study after study shows that production increases for work or play when you improve Indoor Air Quality. And the best part is that there doesn’t appear to be an air quality metric that improvement levels off. That means that when you go from poor to good IAQ, you see cognitive improvements, but also when you go from good to great. The better your IAQ is, the better room occupants perform; it’s just that simple.
#5 - Healthy buildings increase attendance
By this point, it should be unsurprising that healthy buildings make people perform better; but it also makes them attend more frequently. For example, one study showed that students in well-ventilated classrooms attended 1.6 more days than their peers. So if you run a business, how would two more days of work per employee increase your bottom line?
#4 - Building temperature affects productivity
We’ve all experienced being too hot or cold, and we know how it affects our experience, but how does it affect our performance? It turns out significantly. Trying to work in a building that is defined as too hot or cold can have an immediate 10% impact on productivity. Similarly, another study indicated that cognitive performance worsened during an indoor heat wave. Healthy buildings don’t sacrifice building optimization for human performance and vice versa.
#3 - Proper lighting makes us look smarter
Similar to #4, we’ve all been in rooms with poor lighting. We know it’s not a great experience, but how does it affect us? For over a decade, studies have shown that proper lighting provides a litany of positive effects, one of which is reading fluency. In one study, focus lighting doubled oral reading fluency compared to traditional lighting. Imagine how this impacts our children on state testing and other mandatory examinations. Healthy buildings have proper lighting designed to impact the room’s design positively.
#2 - We experience most pollution from outdoor air while were inside
Because we spend 90% of our time indoors, we experience most outdoor air pollution while inside. We also recycle a lot of air from our neighbors. If you live in a modern apartment, approximately 9% of your air comes directly from a neighboring apartment. If you’re in an older apartment, that number could jump to 35%! Whether it’s from outdoor air pollution or your neighbor, this list gives numerous reasons to prioritize indoor air quality. Healthy buildings seek to measure and correct problems with IAQ.
#1 - People spend more time indoors than some species of whales do underwater.
If you read our last blog post, you’ve already seen this fact, but it bears repeating. At this point in our history, humans are an indoor species. Just as you don’t want whales to swim around in a polluted ocean, you shouldn’t tolerate living in a polluted indoor environment. Healthy buildings seek to improve the quality of your indoor space in an environmentally sustainable way.
Interested in learning if your building is healthy?
Start by measuring your indoor air quality and monitoring your outdoor air quality with Vertices AQS. View indoor and outdoor air quality statistics through its mobile and web application to understand precisely what is happening in your indoor environment.