Study: Green Buildings Provide Nearly $6 Billion in Benefits to Health and Climate

Harvard study finds that these previously undocumented benefits are in addition to $7.5B in energy savings, for a combined $13B in total benefits


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

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, 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
  • $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.

In fact, HEALTHfx found that on average, for every dollar saved on energy costs by green buildings, another $0.77 was saved in health and climate benefits. In China and India, the effects were even more dramatic, with approximately $10in health and climate benefits for every dollar in energy savings.U.S., ChinaIndiaBrazilGermany and Turkey. Known as HEALTHfx, the study found nearly $6 billion in combined health and climate benefits.

Read the full study here.