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Green buildings boost employee satisfaction, productivity, says new study

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 4/21/2017 11:59:00 AM

Though saving energy and boosting market value may be more than sufficient reasons for following green building standards, it turns out that green buildings may also contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and the National Research Council (NRC) Canada analyzed anonymous data from more than 40,000 RBC employees across 70+ RBC office buildings. They found that workers in green buildings were more satisfied in their work, were better engaged and committed, and scored higher on management-assessed performance. In short, they did their jobs better, and were happier to do so.

“Although not every green building outperformed every conventional building, green buildings on average demonstrated statistically-significant higher values of corporate metrics related to organizational productivity compared to otherwise similar conventional buildings,” says Guy Newsham, principal research officer and team leader, NRC, in a summary posted on the NRC website. “In particular, ratings on the employee opinion survey, including concepts such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment, were generally higher for green buildings.”

In that same summary, Trevor Nightingale, program leader of NRC’s High-performance Buildings program, says that the better indoor environment of green buildings provides a more comfortable and health-supportive environment for the people who work in them.

“There is a long history of research, including a lot done here at NRC, establishing linkages between the office environment and how it affects employees’ ability to do their work,” says Nightingale. “What’s been missing is a way to objectively quantify the impact of the office environment on organizational productivity, especially where green buildings are concerned.”

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