HEALTHfx: The Benefits of LEED-Certified, Energy-Efficient Buildings

In 2015, the Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab at SyracuseCoE was the site of the first COGfx Study, which examined the way buildings and their environments affect people’s behavior.  Now, a 16-year research study – known as HEALTHfx – conducted by Harvard University experts has found that LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) -certified buildings across the United States and five other countries, including China, India, Brazil, Germany, and Turkey, account for a near $6B in personal health and climate benefits.

Using Harvard’s Co-BE (Co-Benefits of the Built Environment) Calculator, the study examined energy cost savings, emission, reductions, and health co-benefits.  The results showed that energy-efficient buildings around the world have already amassed an estimated $13.3B in overall benefits, while averting 33 megatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reducing air pollution.  In the U.S., these benefits will prevent an estimated 172-405 premature deaths, 171 hospital admissions, 11,000 asthma exacerbations, 54,000 respiratory symptoms, 21,000 lost work days, and 16,000 lost school days.

However, only 3.5% of total commercial buildings in the United States are considered LEED-certified; thus, the study also asserts that the health and energy advantages of energy-efficient buildings be considered during future policy creation, building design, and operation of current developments.

Read the full study here.