New research draws correlates improved indoor air quality with better cognition.
Courtesy Flickr user OliBac via Creative Commons New research draws correlates improved indoor air quality with better cognition.

New research is strengthening the connection between indoor air quality and human performance, particularly in the workplace. This past fall, a team of researchers from Harvard University’s Center for Public Health and the Global Environment, Syracuse University, and the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University, with global building-systems developer United Technologies Corp., published the report “The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function” in which they compared the cognitive-function test scores of subjects in both a conventional building environment and in one with enhanced ventilation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that scores were significantly higher in the latter space. Last week, the team released another report, this time honing in on office ventilation. Titled “Economic, Environmental and Health Implications of Enhanced Ventilation in Office Buildings,” the supplemental report explored three indoor environments—all based on a prototypical 53,000-square-foot, three-story structure with more than 260 occupants—with four different HVAC system setups across seven cities nationwide, including Boston, Boise, Idaho, San Francisco, and Albuquerque, N.M. Carrier’s Hourly Analysis Program was used to calculate the HVAC equipment’s annual energy consumption and its environmental impact was determined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Power Profiler tool. The researchers aim to explore the potential benefits of enhanced ventilation to encourage building owners and project teams to pursue the related credits in green-building certification programs. Read more about both reports. [The COGfx Study]

ICYMI: Automation and creative practice aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s up to architects and designers to determine how they best come together in the built environment. [ARCHITECT]

Carter Zufelt Müll

The colorful swirls that enliven these eye-catching design objects from Provo, Utah–based designer Carter Zufelt come from recycled plastic bags. [Kickstarter]

Startup Airlabs, which developed out of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, uses ultraviolet light and ozone to turn air pollutants into dust particles, which are easier to remove than the industrial gasses that typically clog the air. []

Ikea recently opened its Space10 innovation lab in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it will host designers to collaborate on new home products. [Fast Company’s Co.Design]

The AIA has added a new owner-consultant agreement—"AIA Document C103-2015, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Consultant without a Predefined Scope of Consultant’s Services"—to its Contract Documents to offer more options for project teams as the nature of ownership and consulting arrangements continues to evolve. [AIA]

Whether you're on the hunt for stocking stuffers for friends and family or searching for a token of year-end gratitude for a favorite client, our annual architect-approved Gift Guide is back again and at your service. [ARCHITECT]