LEED and Your Air (part 3)

Dr. Helena Riess, of Wellness Management Consultants, says that while LEED, the leading standard for construction, may be a good starting point for energy efficient buildings, it does not mean the building is a healthy or a biologically safe living environment.

Dr. Riess, and others have long pointed out that LEED certification has a number of levels, all of which indicate how green a building might be. “But,” she said today, “That has nothing to do with health, and in some cases a green building can be more unhealthy than an older non-certified structure.”

Older buildings which may not have the insulation and containment of a green building, may use more energy, but in many cases the air flow, keeps the indoor air fresher and healthier than some green buildings.

This can be particularly important if the office building is furnished with materials that outgas VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) which are trapped in the sealed building and can build up in the human body.

Dr. Riess pointed to a recent Harvard University study which detailed the impact of polluted air on cognitive function.

“I think the pendulum has begun to swung away from air tight LEED Certified buildings to those which may not be quite as energy efficient, but are much healthier for workers,” she concluded.

 

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