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Global study supports healthy buildings as a critical public health strategy

New research conducted on a global scale has found that healthy buildings with enhanced ventilation can improve the cognitive function and health of occupants, suggesting that ventilation and filtration are the preeminent healthy building strategies.

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 (IAQ) on how people think and feel. This latest study supports the prior studies’ lab and US findings and further supports that IAQ is not only good for people around the world, it is good for the bottom line – through increased productivity, fewer sick days and better cognitive function.

“As the population moves toward returning to offices, schools and recreational activities, the health, safety and intelligence of indoor environments have come into greater focus,” said Didier Genois, vice president & general manager, HVAC Europe, Carrier. “The COGfx Study Series continues to demonstrate that the proper ventilation and filtration of indoor environments play an important role across the globe in fostering a proactive health strategy. At Carrier, we are focused on delivering innovative solutions and services that positively impact the health, productivity and cognitive performance of occupants of all buildings.”

The COGfx Study 3: Global Buildings examined the impact of indoor air quality on the cognitive function of office workers across six countries – the United Kingdom, China, India, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States. The research found that cognitive function declines as the levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5)and carbon Dioxide (CO2)increase.

Importantly, mechanical ventilation, such as an HVAC system with efficient filtration, can help to protect building occupants from the negative cognitive effects of PM2.5andCO2. In addition to acute impacts on cognitive function, reducing exposure to PM2.5is associated with many other health benefits including reductions in cardiovascular disease, asthma attacks, and premature death.

While the research focused on office employees in commercial buildings, the takeaways are applicable for all indoor environments. Carrier offers numerous products and services that optimize indoor air quality, including a suite of advanced solutions through Carrier’s Healthy Buildings Programthat serves key verticals including, healthcare, hospitality, education, retail and marine. Carrier’s Healthy Buildings

This latest research builds on previous COGfx studies that demonstrated better thinking and better health can be found inside healthier buildings. The first study found cognitive function test scores doubled when study participants were in simulated green building environments with enhanced ventilation as opposed to conventional building environments. The COGfx Study 2 examined real-world building environments in the US and showed that employees in green-certified buildings showed 26% higher cognitive function test scores and 30% fewer sick building symptoms versus buildings that were not green-certified.

The COGfx Study 3 can be found at www.theCOGfxStudy.com.

17 September 2021

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