Most people turn to green building projects with the goal of creating a more sustainable environment. They see the threat of climate change and consider the importance of decreasing our reliance on resources and non-biodegradable materials. However, building designers might not realize the other rewards beyond environmental benefits. These unanticipated benefits demonstrate that building green is not only good for the planet but also directly valuable for the individuals who inhabit the green spaces that are built.
Here are some of the benefits you might not know about:
An aspect of green building that you may not have considered is the financial benefit. While the up-front costs of building green are often greater than the standard non-sustainable materials, the long-term benefits far outweigh these costs.
For example, LEED-certified buildings can cut utility costs by around 25 percent, while lessening water usage in green building is lessened by 11 percent. With these savings, you will have already recouped any additional building costs over time. The addition of energy-efficient windows is said to have a return on their investment by over 20 percent. On top of that, there are tax incentives for those who are building green, making this commitment to green construction even more of a no brainer.
Furthermore, likely the best financial reason to invest in green building is market demand. Green projects up the value of your property, and those looking to buy are often consciously seeking homes and offices that follow environmental standards. If you ever want to sell your property, green certification will be a compelling selling point, certainly, but moreover, conscientious buyers are turned off by properties that have not considered sustainability in their construction.
You may have considered these financial rewards of green energy, but perhaps a set of benefits that you did not anticipate is that green building has an immediate positive impact on the physical and emotional health of residents.
Imagine if something about the place you live could improve your marriage, or make family time better. Research has shown that living in a green building lowers stress level. Building features such as more ambient light or improved indoor air quality can lead to a reduction in seasonal depression and a boost in mood and morale.
Once you’ve already made the choice to build green, you might not know that this decision might allow you to make more decisions. A Harvard School of Health study showed that those that resided in a green building had an over 40% better track record when it came to making good decisions. If you’re working from your green home or working in a LEED building, you can experience better productivity as well.
Research demonstrates that those working in green environments are over 15% more productive. In addition, a COGfx study found that people who worked in greener spaces were 130% better at planning and strategizing during a crisis. With that in mind, your green home may just improve your ability to act under pressure.
If you live in an urban area, you might not imagine that the inside of your house can be more polluted than the outdoors, filled with car exhaust and factory smoke. However, studies show that poor indoor air quality causes all kinds of sickness. There’s even a condition called Sick Building syndrome which shows that when an area is not well ventilated it can easily become riddled with contaminants. Green buildings can improve airflow and air quality, reducing sick building syndrome by 30 percent.
In addition to creating calm and being good for your health outcomes, green buildings have been shown to have a positive effect when it comes to an emotional connection to the place where people reside.
One piece of research showed that people were over 15% more likely to feel a general sense of well-being, in addition to being more cheerful and happier to associate themselves with their surroundings. This led also to a sense of pride in their environment, and a desire to stay and share with others, which translates to a better home and workplace environment.
There are so many reasons to go green when building a home, but the one that might be most compelling is the direct emotional and physical effect on occupants of the building. Green initiatives will not only allow you to contribute to the environment and put money back into your pocket but also lead to improved well-being and state of mind. And you certainly can’t put a price tag on that.
For even more psychology and physiological benefits, check out the infographic from BigRentz. It shows 18 ways spaces green-compliant spaces improve the lives of those that inhabit them, which can be applied to workplaces, commercial buildings, and residential properties.