Green buildings = Worker productivity  
We all know a green office building can save energy costs, uses fewer resources and gives employees a reason to feel good about going to work each day. But a new study finds there may be yet another reason for companies to locate their business in a green building.

In May, a team from large commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis and the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate embarked on a study as to whether green buildings would actually increase worker productivity. The results were published earlier this month and show environment can actually play a role in worker productivity.

While management is still the largest factor in employee productivity, more than half the tenants surveyed agreed employees were more productive after they moved to a green building. About 45 percent agreed workers took fewer sick days (on average, 2.88 days less sick time).

These results have financial implications for businesses. For tenants who reported greater productivity, the impact would be $20.82 per square foot, per year (based on salary and average productivity increase). For tenants who claimed fewer sick days, the net impact per worker is $4.91 per square foot, per year. Overall, that means the average impact per worker when it comes to increased productivity is $5,204 and $1,228 in terms of fewer sick days. (Read the full study online.)

Those numbers can add up and is just one more reason for companies to embrace environmentally conscious business practices – from recycling to the kind of materials used in the building’s physical structure, the paint on the walls and the furniture in the cubicles.

This also provides another argument for business owners and managers who argue going green is too costly and not financially feasible. Yes, going for LEED certification or leasing a green or energy-efficient building may add to the expenses column in the budget – but with savings from higher productivity and fewer sick days, plus savings on energy costs, businesses may find themselves saving money in the long run.

Let’s hear your thoughts. Do you work in a green office building and find it ups your overall health and productivity? Is your business considering a move to a green building?

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