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HEALTHfx: Health Co-Benefits of Green Buildings

Did you know buildings can deliver billions of dollars’ worth of public health benefits, including fewer hospitalizations and reduced climate impacts? A new study says that’s the case – if they’re energy-efficient buildings.

Experts at Harvard University examined a subset of green-certified buildings over a 16-year period in six countries: the U.S., Mainland China, India, Brazil, Germany and Turkey. Known as HEALTHfx, the study found nearly $6 billion in combined health and climate benefits.

  • In some countries, health and climate benefits far exceeded – in dollar amounts – energy savings.
  • Globally, the studied green-certified projects saved billions of dollars in energy costs.
  • Globally, 33,000 kilotons of CO2 were avoided, equivalent to 7.1 million fewer passenger cars on the road for one year.

This equates to:

  • $4.4 billion in estimated public health benefits from fewer:
  • Deaths
  • Hospital visits
  • Asthma Attacks
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Lost days of work
  • Lost days of school

Resulting from:

  • $1.4 billion in estimated climate benefits from reductions in:
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)

This is all in addition to $7.5 billion in energy savings from the green-certified buildings studied. Considering that the buildings studied included only LEED® certified buildings, which are approximately one-third of the global green building stock, total benefits worldwide would be even greater.

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Primary support for the study came from Carrier.