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# ACHIEVING AND MAINTAINING HEALTHY GREEN BUILDINGS

, PE, CIH 1

Journal of Green Building

College Publishing

ScienceOpenPublisher
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### INTRODUCTION

Green buildings are created to provide healthy and productive indoor environments for their occupants. While achieving these goals can consume energy and funds, efforts to conserve energy can end up degrading the quality of the indoor environment. Therefore, a healthy indoor environment will more likely be achieved if certain priorities are established early on in the design process. These goals include understanding the integrated relationship between saving energy and the achievement of good indoor air quality, the importance of effective air sealing of the building envelope, the ability to control air contaminants, and the importance of continually managing moisture and ventilation performance over the life of the building.

While this market transformation toward green buildings has begun largely through the efforts of the U.S. Green Building Council and the LEED products, there are still many more steps along this path that need to be taken if healthy green buildings are to become the norm. Just as operational investment decisions need to focus more on Life Cycle Costs as opposed to merely minimizing initial costs, building performance evaluations need to be more holistic in scope and consider how all of the building components interact to contribute to the achievement of a healthy indoor environment as a whole.

The goal of achieving and maintaining healthy green buildings is dependent on having accurate and timely feedback on such key building parameters as the effectiveness of air barrier sealing, air contaminant control, and ventilation and moisture management performance. The evaluation of these parameters depends on knowing what metrics relating to building performance are most important to have, and what are the best and most accurate ways of obtaining this information on building performance in a timely fashion. Having accurate diagnostic feedback on building performance in these areas will not only help achieve and maintain a healthy environment, it will also reduce risks and uncertainties in building operation and reduce the time between identifying a problem with the building, and when it is understood and corrected. The longer this interval takes, the more the occupants will be adversely affected, and potentially suffer degradations in health, morale, and productivity.

### Most cited references5

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### Risk of sick leave associated with outdoor air supply rate, humidification, and occupant complaints.

(2000)
We analyzed 1994 sick leave for 3,720 hourly employees of a large Massachusetts manufacturer, in 40 buildings with 115 independently ventilated work areas. Corporate records identified building characteristics and IEQ complaints. We rated ventilation as moderate (approximately 25 cfm/person, 12 ls-1) or high (approximately 50 cfm/person, 24 ls-1) outdoor air supply based on knowledge of ventilation systems and CO2 measurements on a subset of work areas, and used Poisson regression to analyze sick leave controlled for age, gender, seniority, hours of non-illness absence, shift, ethnicity, crowding, and type of job (office, technical, or manufacturing worker). We found consistent associations of increased sick leave with lower levels of outdoor air supply and IEQ complaints. Among office workers, the relative risk for short-term sick leave was 1.53 (95% confidence 1.22-1.92) with lower ventilation, and 1.52 (1.18-1.97) in areas with IEQ complaints. The effect of ventilation was independent of IEQ complaints and among those exposed to lower outdoor air supply rates the attributable risk of short-term sick leave was 35%. The cost of sick leave attributable to ventilation at current recommended rates was estimated as $480 per employee per year at Polaroid. These findings suggest that net savings of$400 per employee per year may be obtained with increased ventilation. Thus, currently recommended levels of outdoor air supply may be associated with significant morbidity, and lost productivity on a national scale could be as much as \$22.8 billion per year. Additional studies of IEQ impacts on productivity and sick leave, and the mechanisms underlying the apparent association are needed.
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### Establishment of an Air-Quality Indicator for bus Diesel Exhaust in Garages

(1993)
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### Project summary. Office Equipment: Design, Indoor Air Emissions, and Pollution Prevention Opportunities

(1995)
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### Author and article information

###### Journal
jgrb
Journal of Green Building
College Publishing
1552-6100
1943-4618
1943-4618
Winter 2009
: 4
: 1
: 1-13
###### Author notes

1Life Energy Associates, 20 Darton Street, Concord, MA 01742, sagefarm@ 123456comcast.net .

###### Article
jgb.4.1.1
10.3992/jgb.4.1.1

Volumes 1-7 of JOGB are open access and do not require permission for use, though proper citation should be given. To view the licenses, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

###### Page count
Pages: 13
###### Categories
INDUSTRY CORNER