Improving the energy efficiency of a building through green building design in Vancouver presents benefits beyond energy savings. While energy efficient upgrades and retrofits are often conducted as a means to lower building operation costs and environmental impact, they also affect a key human element: productivity. When the indoor conditions are improved through green building design, employees also benefit.
Many of the systems operating within a building help make the indoor environment more comfortable. Temperature, humidity, indoor air quality, lighting, and more all affect how employees feel each day they are working. Whether it’s a new green building in Vancouver or designing a retrofit for existing systems, energy efficiency measures will likely also affect these comfort factors.
When employee comfort improves, studies have shown that productivity also improves. Usually when measuring the return on investment of energy efficient upgrades, gains earned from improving productivity are not factored in. While productivity improvements are difficult to quantify, it has been discovered that individual productivity increases as a building’s energy efficiency increases. Below are examples of facility improvements which have also worked to increase productivity.
Natural lighting has been shown to improve employee productivity as well as improve health and well-being. Improved lighting design can contribute to 0.7 to 23 percent gains in individual employee productivity. Green building design in Vancouver can optimize the amount of natural light allowed into a building’s workspaces. From an energy efficiency standpoint, the use of natural lighting not only reduces dependency on artificial lighting, but also the energy costs associated with it.
Temperature is one of the most important factors determining comfort in the workplace. Studies have shown that productivity increases with indoor temperatures up to approximately 69 to 71°F, and decreases as temperatures rise above this point. Optimal room temperatures can be managed easily through upgrades and retrofits. Green building design in Vancouver often implements technologies such as zoning and building automation controls to manage the indoor climate as well as the energy use of commercial HVAC systems. Workers may also benefit from individual control over temperatures, as everyone functions differently- programmable thermostats can make this possible.
Indoor Air Quality
Depending on the processes conducted within a facility, indoor air quality can become quite polluted. Improving air quality can reduce the burden on the commercial HVAC systems to filter contaminants, and also improve productivity in employees. Improved ventilation has been shown to improve productivity anywhere from 0.6 to 7.4 percent. Green building design in Vancouver makes use of natural ventilation where appropriate to lower energy costs.