Building Efficiency

The Hidden Value Beyond Energy Cost Savings That Efficient Buildings Provide

Are energy-efficient workplaces healthier? Just Google it, September 12, 2014

When people talk about the business case for energy-efficient buildings achieved through comprehensive measures like deep energy retrofits, what usually comes to mind first is lower energy bills. However, an increasing number of organizations are recognizing the value beyond energy cost savings that energy-efficient buildings provide.

Last year, Rocky Mountain Institute wrote about how deep energy retrofits can reduce the cost of health care. It turns out that energy-efficient buildings do more than just reduce energy bills for energy-hungry healthcare buildings. They also improve the quality of the healthcare services that these companies provide. For example, energy efficiency measures addressing low ventilation rates and airflow in healthcare facilities reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases, as high ventilation rates and airflow have been shown to greatly reduce the transmission of airborne illnesses. Studies have found that patients in sunny hospital rooms versus rooms using artificial light have a decreased length of stay, a trend also observed for patients staying in hospital rooms with windows overlooking a scene of nature. Furthermore, the University Medical Center of Princeton found its airy, sunny and calming hospital rooms led to a 30 percent reduction in pain medicine requests, record-low infection rates and patient satisfaction in the 99th percentile.

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