If your clients want more bang for their buck when it comes to their energy efficiency investments, share the available research that demonstrates efficiency’s other financial benefits, such as:
- Improved labor productivity (both offices and manufacturing)
- Reduced healthcare costs (most segments)
- Lower maintenance costs (commercial buildings)
In schools and universities, energy efficiency investments also positively impact student attendance and performance.
Workforce Productivity, Performance, and Profits
Energy efficiency improvements can be used as productivity tools. According to the World Green Building Council, employees who work in a green building see a 23% increase in labor productivity from better lighting, an 11% increase from better ventilation, and a 3% increase from individual temperature control. According to other studies:
- About 90% of human resource executives believe green buildings are productivity tools and increase labor productivity. (The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings, McGraw Hill, 2014.)
- Low concentrations of carbon dioxide and pollutants plus high ventilation rates improve labor productivity by up to 11%. (Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices, World Green Building Council, 2014.)
- For every degree that indoor air temperature changes above or below 71°F or 72°F, performance decreases an average of 0.3–0.4%. Improved temperature control translates to $150–$300 savings per employee per year at nominal wage levels. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2006.)
There are more non-utility cost benefits for energy efficiency investments in manufacturing, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Based on an average value of shipments per manufacturing employee of $500,000 (Economic Census Bureau Annual Survey of Manufacturers, 2007), there would be a $25,000 profit per employee at an average net profit margin of 5%. A 1% improvement in productivity equates to about $250 extra profit per employee.
Poor ventilation can lead to health problems and increased costs. The annual direct medical cost of building-related health conditions (headaches, respiratory problems) per employee is $745, according to Carnegie Mellon University. Total equivalent workdays lost to building-related health conditions is estimated to be 10 per year, or about $2,000 per employee. If an upgraded HVAC system cuts both costs by one-third, total potential health-related savings are $900 per employee.
Substantially higher rates of respiratory illness (50–370%) in high-density buildings (barracks, jails, nursing homes, and healthcare facilities) were associated with very low ventilation rates, according to the University of Hong Kong. Lower ventilation rates likely result in higher airborne concentrations of infectious viruses and bacteria.
Bright light — both natural and artificial — can improve health outcomes in patients with certain mental disorders. A University of Alberta study found that patients with severe depression had shorter stays (by three or more days) than the average stay after exposure to brightly lit rooms. Hospital patients in rooms with bright daylight also require less medication than patients in dimly lit rooms, and are discharged sooner.
Properties certified with LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) have reduced maintenance costs (9% less or $0.25 per square foot), according to Leonardo Academy. A study by the U.S. General Services Administration found that, on average, sustainably designed federal buildings have 13% lower maintenance costs than the typical U.S. commercial building.
Student Attendance and Performance
Student attendance improves with better indoor air quality, as the following studies show:
- The State of Washington found that absenteeism rates decreased after air quality improved by as much as 15%. (Washington High Performance School Buildings: Report to the Legislature, 2005.)
- Two school districts in Illinois found that student attendance rose by 5%. (Illinois Healthy Schools Campaign, 2003.)
Improved student performance may actually be the most valuable benefit of an energy efficiency upgrade:
- Better facilities can add 3 to 4 percentage points to a school’s standardized test scores, as shown in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. (State University of New York at Stony Brook, Neighborhood Capital Budget Group.)
- A study of three school districts showed students exposed to natural daylight performed up to 20% faster on math tests and as much as 26% faster on reading tests. (Heschong Mahone Group, 1999.)
- Reading speed increased by almost 35% and the frequency of errors dropped by almost 45% in a primary school in Hamburg, Germany. (Philips, 2009.)
Enhance your business by making the case for energy efficiency to your clients. Submit your information and get a sales tool outlining 5 ways energy efficiency benefits the workplace.
© 2016 Questline, Inc. www.questline.com