Perhaps one of the strongest benefits of LED lighting is the increased productivity that results from better light. In some examples it is easy to imagine – if a sewing factory switches to high quality LED lighting and now the production workers can see better, there will be less errors and thus less waste and higher productivity. In a retail setting it’s fair to acknowledge the correlation between products that look better (from the improved color rendering of LEDs) and selling more product. However, it is a benefit that is harder to quantify than say a straight wattage reduction formula for energy cost savings. That is why it is so exciting to come across empirical data around productivity gains of LED lighting.

Here we share an article from the Institute For Building Efficiency that gives a nice overview and summary of the productivity gains from energy efficiency work, and the studies behind them. For lighting in particular, the article states that; “Studies show that better light and more natural light can improve office worker productivity, improve health and well-being in medical facilities and improve school achievement.”

The Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon identified 12 studies linking improved lighting design decisions with 0.7 – to 23 percent gains in individual productivity.[2] These studies measured productivity gains through increases in reading comprehension, letter processing speed and a range of other tasks, as well as reduced absenteeism.

The article shares a few summaries of reports studying efficiency gains in green buildings:

  • A McGraw-Hill survey completed in 2009 showed that nearly half of all tenants who move into a green space did so in part because they anticipated productivity gains.
  • A 2009 Michigan State University study, “Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Occupant Well-being and Productivity in LEED Offices,” found that groups moving to LEED office buildings missed less work and put in almost 39 hours more per person annually. According to the study, the total bottom-line benefits from gains included fewer allergic reactions and reduced stress. The study showed that indoor air quality, daylighting and views to the outdoors correlated with the highest post-move increases in employee satisfaction.
  • A study conducted in 2007 with two tenant companies that moved into a 5 Green Star rated building in Australia found a 39 percent reduction in average sick leave days per employee per month, a 9 percent improvement in the average typing speed of secretaries, and a 7 percent increase in lawyers’ billings ratios, despite a 12 percent decline in the average monthly hours worked by the lawyers.

To read the complete article and see the link to the references studies, click here: http://www.institutebe.com/Building-Performance-Management/Productivity-Gains-from-Energy-Efficiency.aspx

For further reading on the topic of productivity gains in green buildings, and the source of the infographic accompanying this post, visit: http://ny.curbed.com/2013/5/7/10246368/an-introduction-to-the-cost-benefits-of-green-buildings

This article states that better lighting can generate a 23% increase in productivity.  Now that is real impact!