Do "green' buildings have better indoor environments? New evidence

TitleDo "green' buildings have better indoor environments? New evidence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNewsham, GR, Birt, BJ, Arsenault, C, Thompson, AJL, Veitch, JA, Mancini, S, Galasiu, AD, Gover, BN, Macdonald, IA, Burns, GJ
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Date PublishedAug 1
ISBN Number0961-3218
Accession NumberWOS:000319321600004

A post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of 12 green and 12 conventional office buildings across Canada and the northern United States was conducted. Occupants (N = 2545) completed an online questionnaire related to environmental satisfaction, job satisfaction and organizational commitment, health and well-being, environmental attitudes, and commuting. In each building on-site physical measurements at a sample of workstations (N= 974) were taken, including: thermal conditions, air quality, acoustics, lighting, workstation size, ceiling height, window access and shading, and surface finishes. Green buildings exhibited superior performance compared with similar conventional buildings. Better outcomes included: environmental satisfaction, satisfaction with thermal conditions, satisfaction with the view to the outside, aesthetic appearance, less disturbance from heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) noise, workplace image, night-time sleep quality, mood, physical symptoms, and reduced number of airborne particulates. A variety of physical features led to improved occupant outcomes across all buildings, including: conditions associated with speech privacy, lower background noise levels, higher light levels, greater access to windows, conditions associated with thermal comfort, and fewer airborne particulates. Green building rating systems might benefit from further attention in several areas, including: credits related to acoustic performance, a greater focus on reducing airborne particulates, enhanced support for the interdisciplinary design process and development of POE protocols.