When business owners make energy upgrades, their employees benefit and productivity climbs

How many times have you complained about the air conditioning or the heating system at your office? Too cold, too hot, too loud. Or have you groaned about the poor lighting over your desk? No workplace is perfect, but study after study has shown that companies that invest in smart and efficient energy in their buildings see a payoff in how happy and efficient their employees are, and how healthy they stay.

National Grid recommends exploring all energy upgrades available, as studies show businesses can save up to 30 percent on utility costs.

Housatonic Curtain Company, a manufacturer of draperies and related products in Western Massachusetts for more than 30 years, has 63 employees and a 40,000-square foot facility to maintain. National Grid’s Small Business Services Program recommended some changes for the company, starting with a free on-site energy assessment and incentives that paid up to 70 percent of any project costs.

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The recommended changes included energy efficient lighting with occupancy sensors to reduce energy consumption and utility bills. It cost $10,000, but with $7,500 in incentives, the cost to Housatonic was just $2,500, and the estimated annual savings in energy was $1,500.

“Our business is very visual and detail-oriented,” said Bob Betti, the company’s vice president of manufacturing. “Good lighting is critical for doing our best work. Being able to improve our lighting and save on energy costs is just smart business for us.”

There’s another reason it makes sense for companies. Studies show that better lighting reduces workplace errors in a number of industries. A poorly lit area is asking for an accident to happen. And if a study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design is any indicator, it’s a hot-button issue for employees. The study found that 68 percent of employees complain about the lighting situation in their offices.

The impact of an improved, energy-saving HVAC system is different. It’s about health. Studies have shown that upgrading to an efficient HVAC system reduces employee absenteeism related to asthma or allergies as a result of improved indoor air quality. When fewer people call in sick, more work gets done.

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In a recent study led by Harvard and sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, some groundbreaking findings emerged. For the study, 24 participants spent six days (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in an environmentally controlled office space and they were exposed to a range of environmental air quality conditions, which included lower air ventilation rates and time in a “green” building and a “green-plus” building, the most energy efficient.

“On average,” the study reported, “cognitive scores were 61 percent higher on the green building day and 101 percent higher on the two green-plus building days than on the conventional building day.”

The study authors found that the higher scores in nine different criteria would translate into “improved productivity and increased worker health and satisfaction. This includes a decrease in absenteeism due to illness.”

The study confirmed what National Grid has also found. “Making the right insulation upgrades will help your building stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer—resulting in comfortable and productive employees,” the company said.

To learn more about energy saving solutions for your business, visit ngrid.com/save.

National Grid is a proud sponsor of Mass Save.

Provided By National Grid

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