The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is part of the Department of Energy. They recently released a 22 page report comparing traditional commercial buildings to “green” federal buildings. The findings were not surprising as many studies confirm similar results:
“To measure green building performance you must look at the building holistically, which includes the occupants and maintenance impacts in addition to the commonly targeted energy and water use,” said Kim Fowler, a senior research engineer and buildings relationship manager at PNNL, who is lead author of the paper. “One can design and construct a building well, with the greenest of specifications, but if it’s not operated well or isn’t meeting the needs of the occupants, the grandest intents go out the operable window,” she said.
- Cost less to maintain, by 19 percent,
- Use less energy, by 25 percent, and less water, by 11 percent,
- Emit less carbon dioxide, by 34 percent, and
- Have more satisfied occupants, by 27 percent.
Window tint is only a small part of the products that go into a green building. The real story is a hard number for the gain in occupant satisfaction of a whopping 27%. Energy and cost saving metrics are nice, but the power of happy employees can be even stronger. Happier employees are more productive and creative. These two traits together are key ingredients to innovation in any organization.