Study Finds Employees Working in Green Buildings More Productive

Oct. 12, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, IN – A University of San Diego study released in September 2009 does not appear to have received the attention it deserves, notes Green Cleaning advocate Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and Sustainable Tool, LLC.

The study found that employees working in green buildings are more productive than their counterparts in non-green facilities.

“The researchers identified a green building as one that is LEED-certified or Energy Star-labeled,” says Ashkin. 

The comprehensive study involved more than 2,000 workers from 154 different green buildings. (Formerly, these staffers worked in conventional, non-green facilities.)

For the study, researchers looked at two key measurements: number of sick days reported; and self-reported productivity percentage changes.

Among the findings:

  • 45 percent of respondents reported an average of 2.9 fewer sick days in the new green location
  • Nearly 43 percent of the employees agreed they were more productive in green buildings; 12 percent said they strongly agreed they were more productive in green buildings; and 45 percent noted little change
  • 10 percent actually reported an increase in the number of sick days after moving to a green facility.

“Some clarification is needed to explain the last two statistics,” says Ashkin. “Many of these folks reporting no changes or even an increase in sick days were in Energy Star-labeled buildings that do not have indoor air quality (IAQ) requirements. LEED-certified buildings do have IAQ standards and that makes a big difference.”

Ashkin adds that these findings are similar to other studies conducted over the past few years. “They remind us of the many benefits of green buildings, which [are] not only fewer sick days and greater worker productivity, but enhanced employee retention, recruitment, and worker morale.”

About Stephen Ashkin and The Ashkin Group
Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in greening the cleaning industry, as well as Sustainability Tool LLC, an electronic dashboard that allows companies to measure, track and report on their facility’s environmental impacts. He is also co-author of both The Business of Green Cleaning and Green Cleaning for Dummies. For more information, visit

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