Research: Elevated CO2 Impacts Decision-Making

New research from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found significant reductions on six out of nine decision-making performance scales at CO2 levels of 1000 parts per million (ppm), and large reductions on 7 of the scales at 2500 ppm.

To provide context, outdoor levels of CO2 are typically in the range of 380 ppm and the 8 hour occupational exposure limit in BC and Alberta is 5000 ppm. Strikingly, previous research has suggested that performance effects start at the 10,000 ppm level.

Although concentrations of 1000 ppm are not typically exceeded in office buildings, one notable exception is meeting rooms—where a lot of decision-making can be done. A further implication has to do with decision-making in emergency situations.

Although this is one small study, it comes at a time when there is an increasing emphasis on green and energy efficient buildings, with little thought into the impacts on their occupants.

For more information, visit the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory research page.

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