The researchers who conducted the groundbreaking COGfx Study returned to SyracuseCoE headquarters in February 2017 to report results from their second study, which examined impacts of indoor environmental quality on cognitive function of workers in office buildings across the country.

The initial study, conducted in 2014 at the Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Lab at SyracuseCoE, quantified the benefits of improved indoor air quality—including lower levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds—on cognitive function of office workers. The second study evaluated indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in 12 office buildings across the United States, including seven buildings that had earned certification in the LEED green-building rating system and five high-performing buildings that were not LEEDcertified. The study evaluated cognitive function of workers in each building by the same methods used in the TIEQ Lab study. Results found that green-certified buildings improve cognitive function in general by 26 percent and that people’s overall health improved by 30 percent, highlighting the health benefits of better indoor environments.

“Over the years, green buildings have grown in popularity, and now this study has proven the positive physical and mental impacts green buildings can have on tenants, creating an even greater benefit for investing in green certification,” says John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer for United Technologies Corporation.

Study principals participating in the forum included Joseph G. Allen, assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Piers MacNaughton, research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Usha Satish, professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University.