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Effects of Indoor Environmental Quality on Performance and Productivity

Upward shot of glass ceiling in an atrium

Since we spend so much time indoors, it is in our best interest that the environments we create for working and learning are designed to maximize productivity and performance, or at the very least, minimize the negative effects these spaces may incur on the inhabitant. Over the past 50 years, there has been a growing body of research surrounding optimal indoor conditions. This research has been conducted from several fronts: architects and designers tweaking indoor plans to make spaces aesthetically pleasing, mechanical engineers modifying designs of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment to make spaces more comfortable, and environmental health practitioners performing studies of different indoor environment pollutants and their effects on occupants.

Today, 14 percent of healthcare costs are driven by conditions related to Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), including asthma and allergies; headaches; respiratory disease; eye, nose and throat irritation; reproductive and developmental defects; neurological disease; cardiovascular disease; and some forms of cancer. Poor IEQ in commercial buildings can lower worker productivity, while conversely improving IEQ can significantly reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. (Underwriters Laboratories, 2014)
This report is an attempt to summarize the main tenets linking IEQ and human performance and productivity.

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