What’s the value of increased productivity from improved indoor environmental quality in green buildings?
New research released yesterday, entitled “Economic, Environmental and Health Implications of Enhanced Ventilation in Office Buildings,” finds that doubling the ventilation rate in typical office buildings can be reached at an estimated annual energy cost of between $14 and $40 per person, resulting in as much as a $6,500 equivalent in improved productivity per person per year.
When energy-efficient technologies are utilized, the study found the energy costs to be even lower, with a minimized environmental impact of approximately 0.03 additional cars on the road per building.
This research builds on the landmark COGfx Study that showed cognitive test scores doubling in an optimized green building environment. I think that this study is so powerful, it has the potential to accelerate the green building movement and, on a net basis, save more energy over the long run, even with modest increases in ventilation rates to improve the health and productivity of building occupants.
The research, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment,SUNY Upstate Medical University,Syracuse University and Carrier, with support from United Technologies, shows that there is no longer a tradeoff between energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Both can be achieved together to accelerate the green building movement – with readily available, energy efficient technology.
It’s also fitting that this research was released during Greenbuild. When the movement began, green buildings were seen as the sustainable solution for a rapidly urbanizing world. Now, this new research and the findings of The COGfx Study demonstrate significant, positive benefits of green buildings on the health and productivity of its occupants. This continues the evolution of the green building movement by further defining the value – and need – to build sustainably.
This article was originally published on UTC's blog Sustainability View.