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The most recent studies1 show that green building need not cost more and could actually cost less than conventional construction, and the added value can be significant. For workplace owners and occupiers, the business case for high-performance design is clear. For new projects, operating costs can improve 13.6% on average,2 up to 30%.3 But hard costs (lease and utilities) represent only about 10% of a company’s annual investments, while the remainder—over 90%—goes to personnel.4 Therefore, a 1% productivity savings can be the equivalent of a 10% savings in operating the physical space.
According to studies, workers with no view complain more often about fatigue, stress, and illness, while those with views of the outdoors are less likely to report negative health symptoms.5 Building a healthier workspace, with ample daylight, fresh air, and connection to the outdoors, can improve comfort and well-being among occupants, resulting in higher productivity (often 6-7%) and lower absenteeism (up to 15%).6 A study of federal office buildings found that the productivity increase due to better light quality can be more than $3 per square foot.7 For a 100,000-square-foot office building, that means $300,000 per year.
Research shows that workers with views of windows, for example, are 6-12% more productive and perform 10-25% better on tests of mental function and memory recall, and the annual savings can be as much as $3,000 per employee.8 For a company with 100 employees, that means $300,000 per year; for a company with 1,000 employees, the savings could be as much as $3 million.
Additionally, surveys show that 93% of companies with “green” workplaces report a greater ability to attract talent, and 81% report greater employee retention.9