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Healthy Buildings & Employee Performance: The Next Revolution?

1/24/19 10:32 AM / by Melink

Do you want to optimize your employees' performance by 299%?  Increase cognitive ability in strategy development by 288%?

Yes! Of course, we all would love to fully optimize ourselves and those around us to maximize our potential and our impact on the world.  What if the answer was all around us, literally allowing us to live? According to new research focused on indoor air quality in the work place, there is a tremendous opportunity to move beyond "green" buildings to ensure we work in "healthy" buildings. 

 

Cognitive Function Test Scores
Source: Natural Leader: The Cogfx Study

 

The COGfx Study, while limited to 24 participants, demonstrated that improved indoor environmental quality doubled cognitive testing results in buildings with enhanced ventilation versus conventional buildings. The study distinguished between three building types: conventional, green, and enhanced
green.  Within these building types, the focus benchmarks were Carbon Dioxide levels in parts per million, ventilation rates expressed in cubic feet per minute per person, and Volatile Organic Compounds in micrograms per cubic meter. It's also worth noting that the building used was already a LEED Platinum-certified facility; thus, there's likely more room for increased scores when comparing the findings to older existing buildings.

 

Office Building Productivity Related to Indoor Air Quality
Source: Natural Leader: The Cogfx Study

 

The study explores the decrease in energy efficiency, which could be viewed as a negative; however, relative to the increase in employee productivity and lost time due to sickness, the savings can
be dwarfed. The noted increased cost per occupant in energy consumption is $400/year, but the study suggest a 6x return in sick leave reductions alone relative to the increased energy cost.  Factor in the potential for increased productivity for one of the biggest operational cost for any company, the
people, and the energy penalty is worth the investment.

 

While Melink is focused on energy efficiency, we're also not blind to the impacts of indoor air quality. We built our corporate headquarters as a LEED Gold facility, later upgrading to Platinum. In addition to the LEED standards, we also monitor indoor CO2 levels via sensors and increase ventilation rates via an HVAC purge sequence, once a room exceeds 800 ppm in CO2.  On average, the general office area CO2 levels hover around 600 ppm and are aided by the addition of live plants, which produce an average CO2 drop of 100 ppm.

 

This focus on IAQ has led us to the development of a new product, Melink PositiV, to help ensure proper positive building pressure and CO2 levels in commercial buildings. The aim is to provide a simple solution for one of the biggest problems in all buildings, restaurants, and retail locations: negative building pressure. The standalone device monitors pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 levels to provide a picture of building health and trends.

 

 

Tags: Building Health, Construction, Zero-Energy Building

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Written by Melink