Energy managers can score points with C-suite executives – as well as their fellow workers – by doing everything they can to make their buildings green.
A story at website for The Society for Human Resource Management found that green structures do far more than help the environment. People who work in environmentally healthier buildings are healthier themselves, have a better time and are more productive than does who don’t.
The common sense assessment was borne out by multiple studies by Harvard University and SUNY Upstate Medical University. Those in higher performing buildings, the studies found, “showed higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick-building symptoms and higher sleep quality scores than workers in high-performing buildings without green certification,” the story said.
The differences between green and non-green buildings are striking. Those who work in green buildings have a 26.4 percent higher cognitive function score; a 73 percent higher crisis response score; a 44 percent higher applied activity level score; a 38 percent higher focused activity level score; 30 percent fewer self-reported sick building symptoms and a 6.4 percent higher sleep quality score.
Though the relationship to energy efficiency and green buildings is not direct, they clearly overlap. For instance, daylighting and rooftop gardens serve both purposes. It’s interesting, however, that men and women benefit in somewhat different ways, at least to a study by three European researchers:
The results showed significant relationships between physical and visual access to workplace greenery, and a positive workplace attitude and decreased level of stress for male respondents. For female respondents, a significant relationship between physical and visual access to workplace greenery and a positive workplace attitude was found, but not between access to workplace greenery and level of stress. Furthermore, a positive workplace attitude was related to decreased levels of stress for female respondents, but not for male respondents.
The relationship between green offices and energy savings is deep and multilayered. Indeed, cutting the electric bill is the top item in Apple Blossom Energy’s list of the advantages of a green office.