Certified Green Buildings Linked To Healthier, Happier, More Productive Employees

 Courtesy of U.S. Green Building Council. Arup's Boston office.

Courtesy of U.S. Green Building Council. Arup's Boston office.

When it comes to employee retention, the building itself can play a huge role in enticing people to stay. Workers who spend their days in certified green buildings — such as LEED-certified buildings — are happier, healthier and more productive than employees in traditional buildings, according to a recent survey from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The USGBC created the LEED ratings system as a framework to gauge healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. 

Another recent report shows that as green building grows in popularity, the savings associated with the movement continue to be a strong advantage for owners. Most LEED participants cite occupant health and happiness as one benefit, with lower operating costs as another.

“Green building globally is expected to grow over the next three years and that activity is driven by client demand and environmental regulations,” USGBC President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam said. “Developers, investors and architects need to be considering how buildings and spaces are impacting the health of the people in them.”

When it comes to job retention, more than 90% of workers in LEED-certified green buildings said they were satisfied with their jobs. For job seekers, LEED wins out as well: 79% of respondents stated they would take a job in a LEED-certified workplace over a non-LEED space.

If happiness is not enough of a motivator for LEED-certified projects, money just might be.

About two-thirds of surveyed respondents expected to see building operating costs decrease by at least 6% within the next 12 months. More than 80% cited expectations of this same rate of return within the next five years.

As the results of lowered operating costs and occupant health become more tangible, the value of the green buildings themselves increases. Owners, architects and contractors are starting to recognize that building green results in higher asset values, USGBC Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Advocacy Taryn Holowka said.

LEED buildings report almost 20% lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings, and Holowka said green building retrofit projects typically decrease operational costs by almost 10% in one year.

LEED-certified buildings consume 25% less energy and 11% less water, Holowka said.