MSUToday
Published: Aug. 11, 2010

Workers say 'green' buildings boost productivity

Contact(s): Andy Henion Media Communications office: (517) 355-3294 cell: (517) 281-6949 Andy.Henion@cabs.msu.edu, Sue Grady Geography office: (517) 432-9998 gradys@msu.edu

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Workers who moved from conventional office buildings to environmentally friendly “green” buildings said they called in sick less often and were more productive, according to a study by a team of Michigan State University researchers.

The study appears in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

The researchers, who looked at two case studies in the Lansing area, found that moving to LEED-certified buildings contributed to noticeable reductions in self-reported absenteeism and stress. It also improved the workers’ productivity as a result of perceived improvements in health and well-being.

“These preliminary findings indicate that green buildings may positively affect public health,” the researchers write.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a designation by the U.S. Green Building Council for buildings with environmentally friendly design, construction practices and operation.

The research team consists of Amanjeet Singh, a former MSU master’s student; Matt Syal, professor of planning, design and construction; Sue Grady, assistant professor of geography; and Sinem Korkmaz, assistant professor of planning, design and construction.

The researchers said they plan to continue seeking funds to monitor the study participants and also conduct similar studies at different sites.

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Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

According to a study by MSU researchers, workers at "green" buildings report increased productivity. MSU's Chemistry Building is an example of a green structure; it earned the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification.