Occupant comfort and health in green and conventional university buildings

Work. 2014;49(3):363-72. doi: 10.3233/WOR-141870.


Background: Green building standards are significantly impacting modern construction practices. The resulting structures are more energy efficient, but their impact on occupant health has not been widely studied.

Objective: To investigate a range of indoor environment and ergonomic issues in green buildings.

Methods: Retrospective post-occupancy evaluation survey of 319 occupants in two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings and one conventional building on a Canadian University campus.

Results: Results show that working in the LEED buildings was a generally positive experience for their health, performance, and satisfaction. However, the LEED buildings did not always receive the highest ratings for environmental conditions or for health and productivity. Respondents indicated a range of concerns with thermal conditions, office lighting, noise and their overall workstation designs and these were not always better in the green buildings.

Conclusions: These results highlight the need for better integration of ergonomic design into green buildings and into the LEED rating system, and these implications are discussed.

Keywords: Green buildings; indoor environmental conditions; occupant health; office ergonomics; productivity.

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Universities*