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Kilroy Realty Partners With Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Global Health Study

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Kilroy Realty Corp. is partnering with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in its third study on the link between green buildings and cognitive function. The first two studies found that improved indoor environmental quality doubled occupants’ cognitive function test scores.

Specifically, occupants in high-performing, green-certified buildings had higher cognitive function scores than occupants in similarly high-performing, non-certified buildings. Kilroy Realty is the only North American REIT to participate in the study.

The third Harvard study aims to create the first-ever cohort of buildings for a comprehensive, year-long study on the specific factors in a built environment that influence human health and productivity. Ten KRC employees volunteered to participate in the ongoing global study. The participants have been provided a sensor to track indoor environmental conditions at their desks and wearable devices to track sleep and physical activity. These devices integrate with the study’s application, which allows study participants to complete surveys and cognitive tests.

“We are trying to unlock the secrets of how buildings can be leveraged to further promote human health and productivity,” says Joseph Allen, assistant professor and Director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We can’t do this type of research without outstanding corporate partners like Kilroy and study participants who donate their time. We’re grateful for their support as we collectively work to advance the science on healthy buildings for all.”

KRC’s participation in the study builds on its strong existing health programs, which focus on indoor air quality and active design. Its indoor air quality programs include air quality testing, high MERV-rating filtration media, green cleaning supplies, building standards specifying low-emitting materials, and leak detection programs that prevent mold growth. At year-end 2018, 38% of the KRC portfolio was certified under Fitwel by the Center for Active Design.

“The groundbreaking work that has come out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has already changed the global conversation around the impact of buildings on public health, and we are excited to be partners in their third study,” says Sara Neff, Senior Vice President, Sustainability at KRC. “We hope that our participation in this study will further scientific understanding of those impacts and improve health outcomes through the built environment.”