Are we missing the health benefits of green buildings?

May 12, 2016


For years, those of us in the energy efficiency industry have made the case for energy efficiency investments using the common sense tools at our disposal: energy efficiency upgrades result in energy savings which are good for the environment and make good economic sense. While energy savings are an excellent reason to undertake an energy efficiency project, the focus on the front-end investment (and resulting savings) severely short change the benefits of clean building investments. Thanks to a growing body of research about the benefits of green buildings, including research undertaken by United Technologies Corporation (UTC), it is increasingly clear that we are undervaluing the health and social benefits of clean energy and efficiency projects in the built environment. Improving things like the indoor air quality and lighting not only makes sense for the customer’s “bottom line,” the operation of the building and the environment, but it also “actually increases cognitive function” and productivity of building occupants and employees. It is time to start incorporating health and social benefits into the energy efficiency investment model .

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