In order to study the impact of these green buildings on respiratory health, Mount Sinai moved tenants from their urban apartments into a LEED-certified apartment building in the Bronx called the Melrose Commons. The study showed that indoor air pollutants are greater in low-income, urban households and that there were higher numbers of indoor allergens, pests, and mold present in these homes. To view the impact of indoor air quality on tenants living with asthma, pets were not allowed in the LEED-certified building, and smoking was prohibited within 25 feet of the complex.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine additionally provided tenants with asthma education sessions, teaching them common triggers of asthma. The green apartment building was also constructed using construction materials with low environmental pollutants and an efficient, green ventilation system.
After families moved into these affordable LEED-certified houses for an 18-month period, the study found:
- A significant decrease in daytime respiratory symptoms,
- A decrease in nighttime asthma symptoms that typically disturb sleep
- A decrease in urgent health care visits for asthma attacks
- A decrease in the number of days they experienced asthma symptoms
- A decrease in the number of days missed from work or school
- An increase in use of hypoallergenic materials
- An increase in green cleaning materials