Green Buildings Don’t Just Save the Planet: They Improve Your Health.

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Did you know the “green” building design and construction isn’t just an attempt by tie-dying wearing earth loving hippies disguised as architects and engineers to save our planet’s resources and prevent the depletion of the ozone? More sustainable building design and construction can actually lead to a more efficient, healthier, and happier you.

There have been many studies over the years that link the quality of the workplace to the efficiency and amount of sick leave taken by employees. (Here’s a link to tell you more http://www.buildinggreentv.com/workshop/lighting/980) The typical job requires a person to sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen day in and day out. Not only is this not good for your eyes but the soul sucking nature of a typical office cubicle (so maybe it’s not that bad – but you wouldn’t likely choose an office cubicle as the ideal location to work in) could be hurting your productivity at work.

Sick building syndrome has been around since the 1980s (Visual Article on SBS: http://www.socalofficerealestateblog.com/?p=1812). One simple way designers are working to revive our sick buildings is by using and improving the natural light in our offices. You may have noticed that a lot of office buildings are sporting loads of glass, windows, or skylights. This is not just to look sleek, sophisticated, and sexy (if you are into glass buildings). Many studies have shown that the more daylight people are exposed to the happier, and thus more productive, they are.

A study done in California shows that employees are 5-15% more productive when exposed to daylight throughout the day. They also found that people used less sick days and it drastically cut down on eye strain (Full Case Study: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy02osti/30769.pdf). It may seem cliché but the sun really can help brighten your day. But when letting in the light, remember quality is important. It’s always a good idea to use natural light when possible over artificial light both at work and in your home. It can really make a difference in the ambience and atmosphere of your space (an added bonus: using natural light can also cut down on your electric bill).

So remember new “green” buildings aren’t just trying to save energy and water, they’re also trying to save us. And hopefully your boss will notice how much more productive you are and give you that raise you’ve been longing for too!

-Carlie Metzger

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