Airtight buildings, which energy managers try to create as a means of cutting energy costs, could be hurting the cognitive abilities of occupants. A Research in Environmental Health Perspectives story reported upon at Inquistr says that research at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that fresher air leads to higher functioning. Green building designs lead to improvements. The gains can be even higher if carbon dioxide levels are lowered, according to the Inquistr story.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from pesticides, paints, fabric conditioners and air fresheners can cause headaches, respiratory infections, nervous system problems, liver and kidney issues and cancer, the story reports. If indoor air quality is improved, improvements are found in crisis response, information usage and planning, prioritizing, sequencing and other strategy skills.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers a tremendous amount of information on indoor air flow, including insight into variable air volume systems, which can provide savings of $0.10 to $0.20 per square foot compared to constant volume systems.