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(NC) Working in a 'green' office building isn't just good for the environment; it's good for your health.

We've all been there - at a desk job for 35 to 60+ hours a week, sitting all day long with harsh overhead lighting and bad air circulation. Now imagine working in a space that was specifically designed to provide fresh air, less noise pollution and more access to natural daylight, all while sustaining the environment. That's what it's like to work in a green building.

Furthermore, a 2013 study from the National Research Council of Canada made a clear connection between working in a green building and happier employees. The study concluded that those employees experience fewer sick days, better sleep quality, and fewer physical or mental symptoms associated with office work.

Not only do you benefit personally from working in a green building, but you will be actively making a difference to the environment. For example, since 2005, the buildings that are certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which include some of Canada's greenest structures, have:
• Saved over 3.3 billion litres of water or 1300 Olympic swimming pools;

• Saved enough energy to power 54,307 homes for a full year; and

• Reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 58,980 cars off the roads for a year.

Green office spaces are becoming more common across Canada with many of the downtown office towers in major cities already LEED certified or targeting certification. But how do you know if you're working in a green building?

Look for signs in the lobby that indicate it is certified LEED, BOMA or Green Globes. You can also ask your facilities manager about what green initiatives have been implemented, or encourage them to consider greening some of their practices. Organizations like the Canada Green Building Council (www.cagbc.org/leedcanada) are also a valuable resource to help you or your employer get started.

Sources: Do Green Buildings Outperform Conventional Buildings?, Birt, Newsham et al., NRC RR-329, 2013

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