Green Buildings can Deliver Billions of Dollars’ Worth of Combined Public Health and Climate Benefits

A new study found that energy efficient buildings can deliver billions of dollars’ worth of public health benefits that includes lesser hospitalizations and fewer climate impacts.

The study, better known as the HEALTHfx, determined almost $6 billion in combined health and climate benefits. Experts at Harvard University analyzed a subset of green-certified establishments more than a 16-year period in six countries such as Turkey, Germany, India, China, Brazil, and the U.S.

A report published on the website of Green Living Guy stated health and climate benefits far exceeded energy savings. The article further reported, “This is all in addition to $7.5 billion in energy savings from the green-certified buildings studied. Considering that the buildings studied included only LEED-certified buildings, which are approximately one-third of the global green building stock, total benefits worldwide would be even greater.”

HEALTHfx also determined that for every dollar saved on energy costs by green buildings, an amount of $0.77 was saved in health and climate benefits.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science and Director of the Healthy Buildings Program Dr. Joseph Allen led the said research. According to Dr. Allen, “The energy savings of green buildings come with a massive public health benefit through associate reductions in air pollutants emitted. We developed the Co-benefits of the Built Environment (CoBE) calculator in this study as a tool that people can use for understanding the health impacts of building portfolios, investments, and building strategies. The decisions we make today with regard to buildings will determine our current and future health.”

The Chief Sustainability Officer at United Technologies, John Mandyck, stated, “Green buildings are designed to save energy and water while promoting healthy indoor environments. Now we know the reduced environmental impact of building green is amplified with quantifiable benefits to public health and climate resilience. With this new human context, we can accelerate the green building movement globally from this groundbreaking research.”

For more information on HEALTHfx, check out this link.

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