Energy Efficiency Can Improve Health

November 12, 2013

Energy efficiency offers institutions many benefits, such as lowering utility bills, reducing carbon emissions to meet climate goals, and gaining positive media attention. However, these upgrades also have the potential to make campus spaces better for their inhabitants. Making improvements in lighting, air circulation, acoustics, and physical space can improve worker and student health and increase productivity. Even as small as a one percent increase in worker productivity has been shown to provide savings greater than the cost of utilities, offering institutions another financial incentive to make these types of retrofits. (See the Institute for Building Efficiency’s link below for more on this stat).

A research study at Colorado State University analyzed responses from five LEED certified schools that have incorporated sustainability in facility design, organizational culture, and educational philosophy. The research showed that these schools have fewer rates of absenteeism, lower teacher turnover, higher productivity, and improved learning and test scores. This approach, combining a green facility and site, an educational program aligned with sustainability, and a green organizational culture, appears to set the stage for school facilities and grounds to be utilized as effective teaching tools.

See the following sources for additional information about the health and productivity benefits of energy efficiency improvements: