Did you know buildings can deliver billions of dollars’ worth of public health benefits, including fewer hospitalizations and reduced climate impacts? A new study says that’s the case – if they’re energy-efficient buildings.
Experts at Harvard University examined a subset of green-certified buildings over a 16-year period in six countries: the U.S., Mainland China, India, Brazil, Germany and Turkey. Known as HEALTHfx, the study found nearly $6 billion in combined health and climate benefits.
- In some countries, health and climate benefits far exceeded – in dollar amounts – energy savings.
- Globally, the studied green-certified projects saved billions of dollars in energy costs.
- Globally, 33,000 kilotons of CO2 were avoided, equivalent to 7.1 million fewer passenger cars on the road for one year.
This equates to:
- $4.4 billion in estimated public health benefits from fewer:
- Hospital visits
- Asthma attacks
- Respiratory symptoms
- Lost days of work
- Lost days of school
- $1.4 billion in estimated climate benefits from reductions in:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous oxide (N2O)
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.
Primary support for the study came from United Technologies and its UTC Climate, Controls & Security business.