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The Product of Working Environments

July 15, 2015

Since the early 1990s, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program has sought to recognize companies who adhere to industry-leading practices for sustainable building. Outwardly, this system of Silver, Gold, and Platinum ratings may appear to simply reward those who build or renovate structures with attention to the environment. As more corporations and large-scale employers have adhered to LEED standards, new benefits are being realized.

Employers working in LEED-certified buildings show improved productivity, workforce engagement, and satisfaction that results in loyalty. When compared to traditional office environments, LEED offers advantages, including:

> 10-25% improvement in memory recall and mental function for employees who have a view of the outdoors compared to those who do not. 
> Reductions of communicable respiratory diseases of 9-20%; allergies and asthma of 18-25%; and non-specific health and discomfort effects of 20-50% in building retrofits intended to improve indoor environments 

The benefits of healthier, enthusiastic, and engaged workers affect more than just the bottom line. In an age when employees are becoming more and more selective about where and with whom they choose to practice their craft, a greater emphasis has been placed on meeting the human needs of employees.

This key principle forms the value proposition for LEED-certified commercial construction. In short, we humans spend an average of 90% of our lives indoors. For the hours we spend in the office, don’t we deserve to work in settings that maximize exposure to natural light and views of the outdoors, promote our individual and overall health, and enhance productivity? Gradually, the answer is transitioning from skepticism to a resounding “yes.”