Beyond Energy Savings: Health & Safety Benefits to Energy Efficiency Upgrades
By Sustainable Energy Fund
There are two obvious benefits to having energy efficiency upgrades done in your residence or business: energy and cost savings. Two very real and important benefits that are often overlooked, however, are the health and safety benefits that can result from energy efficiency upgrades. These benefits result in a much healthier and more productive occupant environment.
The National Institute of Health recognizes Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) as an issue resulting in building occupants reporting various nonspecific symptoms such as headaches and respiratory problems that are correlated with the amount of time spent in a building. SBS can result in increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. Sick Building Syndrome can be remediated by increasing a building’s ventilation rates and air distribution, which can be done by updating and/or properly maintaining the HVAC system.
The process of making improvements to a property’s environment can begin with an initial audit from an energy service provider. In some cases, as part of the audit, furnaces can be tested for carbon monoxide and other gas leaks. If leaks are detected, new and/or better detectors can be installed, providing greater security and peace of mind to inhabitants.
This improvement can also increase worker productivity, as multiple studies have shown. While natural lighting, which decreases depression and increases one’s mood and energy, has been found to have the most positive impact on worker productivity and overall well-being, if artificial lighting must be utilized, there are certainly good and bad options. Light can be classified by the temperature and resulting color it emits. Lower temperature bulbs emit red and yellowish white colors. Higher temperature lights emit cool-white and blue-white colors. Studies have found that being exposed to the latter type of lighting (which LED bulbs produce) results in greater mental alertness, acuity and vitality while also decreasing fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
Sustainable Energy Fund, a nonprofit committed to helping others overcome the financial barriers to a sustainable and safe energy future, is passionate about helping companies realize the many benefits associated with energy efficiency. To make energy upgrades a reality, our organization strives to structure repayment terms on loans so a project can be cash flow positive for the consumer. Consider setting up an appointment today for your office space to reap the cost savings and health benefits of energy efficiency.