A new study spearheaded by Harvard University was recently released. This study focuses on the societal benefits of energy efficiency and green buildings. When discussing the impacts and benefits of energy efficiency projects on buildings the results are usually limited to energy savings and cost savings, but this new study set out to quantify the societal impacts of averting the negative impacts of climate change, in addition to the public health benefits.
Examples of these societal impacts from reductions in air pollution are fewer:
- Hospital visits
- Lost days of work and school
- Asthma attacks
- Respiratory symptoms
The public health benefits of green buildings were studied over a 16-year period by the Harvard study, known as HEALTHfx, and these benefits alone amounted to $4.4 billion in savings. HEALTHfx found that for every dollar saved on on energy costs in green buildings, another $0.77 was saved in health and climate benefits.
In addition to the public health savings seen above, the HEALTHfx study also found an estimated $1.4 billion in climate benefits resulting from reductions in Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide. If combined, the energy savings, public health savings, and savings from averting the negative impacts of climate change equal $13.3 billion saved between 2000 and 2016. That is a staggering amount of savings and proves the many benefits of energy efficiency in general and green buildings in particular.
To read the full Harvard study please go here.