Healthy Buildings as a Critical Public Health Strategy
COGfx Study conducted in India and five other countries backs prior findings that improved indoor air quality leads to enhanced cognitive function and health of building occupants
For the first time on a global scale, new research has found that healthy buildings with enhanced ventilation can improve the cognitive function and health of occupants, suggesting that ventilation and filtration are preeminent healthy building strategies. While the research focused on office employees in commercial buildings, the takeaways are applicable for all indoor environments.
The study, COGfx Study 3: Global Buildings, was led by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of the renowned COGfx Study series, which examines the impact of indoor air quality on how people think and feel. This latest study supports the prior studies’ lab and U.S. findings and further supports that indoor air quality is not only good for people’s health and safety, it’s good for the bottom line – through increased productivity, fewer sick days and better cognitive function.
The COGfx Study 3 examined the impact of indoor air quality on the cognitive function of office workers across six countries – China, India, Mexico, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. In India, the study included 10 buildings located across Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. The research found that cognitive function declines as the levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon dioxide (CO2) increase. Higher CO2 can be an indicator of poor ventilation in buildings.
Importantly, mechanical ventilation, such as an HVAC system with efficient filtration, can help to protect building occupants from the negative cognitive effects of PM2.5 and CO2. In addition to acute impacts on cognitive function, reducing exposure to PM2.5 is associated with many other health benefits including reductions in cardiovascular disease, asthma attacks, and premature death.
“As many people move toward returning to offices, schools and commercial buildings, the health, safety and intelligence of indoor environments have come into greater focus. The COGfx Study continues to demonstrate that proper ventilation and filtration of indoor environments plays an important role in healthier buildings. At Carrier, we are focused on delivering innovative solutions and services that positively impact the health, productivity and cognitive performance of occupants of India’s buildings,” said Chirag Baijal, Managing Director, Carrier India.