Did you know that the average American spends 85 percent of their time within a building?
As a result, building industry professionals and owners have started to realize that the built environment has direct and indirect effects on human wellness and productivity—even if occupants are often unaware.
Specifically, industry health and building experts from leading institutions are making it a priority to investigate the link between indoor environmental quality, cognitive function and decision-making performance.
One particular study, known as COGfx, placed 24 participants over the course of six full work days in an environmentally-controlled office space of fluctuating ventilation conditions—ranging from conventional office buildings to green buildings and green buildings with enhanced ventilation. Subsequently, the study yielded noteworthy results demonstrating:
- 101 percent higher cognitive performance scores in green buildings with enhanced ventilation
- An eight percent increase in employee decision-making performance equates to approximately $6,500 improved productivity each year
- A productivity increase that was 150 times greater than the resulting energy costs
With higher employee satisfaction, a substantial increase in productivity and minimal cost to the employer, the COGfx study has provided peer-reviewed evidence for the connection between sustainable building and occupant health.
Further, in an Urban Land Institute survey, 92 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that health and wellness features in a real estate property can impact its market success and economic value.
Connecting studies to real-world results
At McKinstry, we know that occupant productivity is key to the success of a high-performing building.
We’re national leaders in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings, so we’re uniquely situated to have maximum impact within the built environment. McKinstry experts make every part of every building we touch more efficient.
Several recent McKinstry projects demonstrate our commitment to innovation and eradicating waste to deliver a better built environment for our clients, our communities, and our planet:
- In schools, projects like our partnership with Colorado School of Mines are improving energy efficiency, increasing system reliability and upgrading learning environments leading to increased cognitive function for students and staff.
- In workplaces, projects like McKinstry’s partnership with Fiddler’s Green Center are making office spaces sustainable while maximizing energy efficiency and focusing on occupant comfort.
- In communities, projects like our partnership with the City of Lakewood are ensuring that public buildings and facilities are as excellent and high-performing as the people who use them.
By 2035, we aim to deliver every McKinstry project for half the current cost and have every project result in facilities that consume half the current amount of energy. Transforming the built environment is more than just a catchphrase for McKinstry, it’s our mission.
Putting data into practice
With our knowledge of this emerging intersection between building performance and occupant wellness, McKinstry has the ability and services to audit, measure, implement and be at the forefront of this movement.
Through our work, we strive to achieve occupant wellness with practical applications such as increased indoor air quality, consistent heating and cooling, support for increased natural lighting and daylighting—all of which promote physical activity and social interaction in buildings.
With evolving research, like COGfx, to support the importance of occupant wellness within the built environment, increasing the stock of high-performing buildings through new construction and renovation will be a priority in the building industry for years to come. At McKinstry, we look forward to leading that charge.
Sarah Spencer-Workman is a Technical Services Senior Manager based in McKinstry’s Golden, Colo. office.