A new study finds the greatest benefits of certified green buildings in India might be health and climate related – revealing a previously undocumented and even more significant value proposition beyond well-established energy savings. The findings, the result of new research from Harvard University, were released at United Technologies’ Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series, which kicked off the India Green Building Congress in Jaipur.
Experts at Harvard University examined LEED-certified buildings in six countries: India, China, Brazil, Germany, Turkey and the U.S. Known as HEALTHfx, the study found that in India alone:
- Additional health and climate benefits amounted to $12 for every $1 in energy savings
- LEED-certified projects saved more than $72 million in energy costs
- LEED-certified projects reduced greenhouse gases and emissions by more than 800 kilotons
This resulted in:
- Nearly $900 million in estimated public health co-benefits from fewer
- Hospital visits
- Lost days of work
- Lost days of school
Dr. Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Chan School, led the research. “These indirect, population-level health co-benefits of the green building movement have not been fully accounted for when exploring the benefits of better buildings,” says Allen. “Now, consider that the buildings analyzed in our research represent less than 5 percent of India’s total commercial floor space, and you begin to get a sense of the enormous opportunity that exists to improve human health through energy-efficient buildings.”
“When you consider that India will be building new floor space equivalent to the city of Jaipur every two years to accommodate expected urbanization, you realize the significant opportunity this country has – and that’s before you factor in the measurable health co-benefits identified by this new research. Combine the two and you have the catalyst for an entirely new conversation on the value of green building,” says John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer, United Technologies.
The HEALTHfx research was previewed as part of United Technologies’ global Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series. Designed to connect sustainability thought leaders and international building industry experts to transform the built environment, the event in Jaipur also highlighted the importance of sustainable urbanization. Since its launch in 2011, the series has reached nearly 4,000 building professionals through 33 events in 17 countries.
For more information on United Technologies’ sustainability efforts, visit NaturalLeader.com and join the conversation on Twitter: @UTC, @JohnMandyck, using the hashtag #NaturalLeader.
The full findings of the HEALTHfx study will be released next month during the International Summit at Greenbuild in Boston, Massachusetts. Primary support for the study came from United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) and its UTC Climate, Controls & Security business.