So here is another reason to complete that energy efficiency project you’ve been thinking about: Improve your own, your family’s and your coworker’s brainpower. Energy efficiency is the canary in your coal mine house or office, because where we find energy problems, we almost always also find indoor air quality problems.
A Harvard study shows that improving Indoor Air Quality dramatically improves cognitive function. The ‘average’ office building is, unfortunately, literally making workers dumber. The study showed that office buildings with better air can nearly triple cognitive performance. The most significant improvements were in cognitive abilities relating to strategy, information usage and crisis response!
You can get started today by reducing the amount of VOCs in your building. Use low VOC cleaners and paints, ditch the artificial air fresheners and candles and install low emission carpets and furniture and – place nice leafy plants in your building to help filter out pollutants.
However, for real improvements there is no substitute for a science-based approach. The best way, by far, to reduce the amount of other air pollutants in your building is to hire a qualified energy auditor to complete a building performance assessment and recommendations for your home or business. A qualified energy auditor will find areas where outdoor air is entering the building, identify the cause of stale air being trapped inside and test for proper ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms to reduce humidity levels and the likelihood of mold growth. And then you’ll want to use that same auditor to verify the work was completed properly.
The Harvard study exposed 24 people to 3 different levels of Indoor Air Quality over (6) days. Across the board cognitive performance increased on the days worked in buildings that had lower than average levels of CO2, volatile organic compounds (already known to be linked to many health problems), and other air pollutants than the days worked in an average indoor air quality environment.
Cognitive abilities tested included basic activity, applied activity, focused activity, task orientation, crisis response, information seeking, information usage, breadth of approach and strategy.
So don’t delay! Increase your IQ today!
RESOURCES: Harvard School of Public Health Environmental Health Perspectives