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Three Ways Energy Efficiency Increases Wellness

Sustainability isn’t just good for the wallet, it’s good for overall well-being

We are well versed in the ways energy efficiency impacts budgets. Whether we’re talking about the home environment or commercial buildings, it has been proven that using less energy leads to saving more money.

When LEED came on the scene in 2000, it was a way for new construction to incorporate energy efficiency and environmental best practices. It is now one of the world’s most widely used green building rating systems and a recognizable “stamp” of approval for sustainable buildings.

Now that idea is spreading inward from the “building” to the “being.” The WELL Building Standard ® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It’s expanding the idea of energy efficiency from using less power to powering better humans.

Saving E promotes more D

Vitamin D, that is. Experts like Christiane Northrup, M.D. regard Vitamin D as a key component to a person’s well-being. “It’s a nutrient, and the amount of daylight your body is exposed to can influence your moods, energy level and your overall health.” In the age of energy efficiency, architects and interior designers make conscious efforts to craft spaces that use as much natural light as possible, to reduce the need for more electricity to power bulbs. This practice, known as daylighting, keeps energy costs down and spirits high.

Better air quality = a better bottom line and a better body

According to the ACEEE, “Poor indoor air quality can result from inadequate or inappropriate ventilation. In commercial office spaces, Sick Building Syndrome is a real concern, and can be a result of HVAC systems that don’t adequately distribute air to occupants.” Clean air means a cleaner, more efficient system that won’t require as much power to operate, thereby saving on energy costs.

Cleaner air also means a “clearer” body—poor air quality is linked to serious health problems with the lungs and heart.

Max Galka is a data scientist who keeps two air purifiers in his 600-square-foot apartment in New York City. Galka has studied the effects of poor air quality, concluding that it’s ultimately one of the leading causes of death in the United States and around the world. “Air pollution is not counted as a cause of death because it is not an illness,” he said. “Rather, it’s a contributing factor to other illnesses.”

The right temperature begets the right temperament

It’s common knowledge that adjusting the thermostat has an impact on how much we spend on energy, but it can also have an impact on how good we feel in our environment — beyond being too hot or too cold.

In a study published by the journal Nature Human Behaviour, researchers found there was an ideal temperature for being happy and social (spoiler alert, it’s 71.6°F / 22°C). While the study was focused more on outdoor climates, the same idea can apply to inside environments.

Similar studies found that workplace performance increases with temperatures between 69.8°F and 71.6°F (21°C to 22°C), with the highest productivity at around 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you’re looking for more positivity or more production, temperature matters.

As The WELL Building Standard gains traction (it’s only three years old), keep an eye out for more ways to tie energy efficiency to human wellness. After all, the standard was created to “explore the intersection between people and the built environment.” Energy is a natural part of that conversation.

This is good news for marketers, because we know that the best message for your target audiences is one that speaks to their unique needs, personal preferences and overall desire to feel like brands “get them.”

Shifting the conversation from something “physical” (e.g., How tight is your building’s envelope? Or, what is the NFRC rating on your windows?) to something “mindful” (e.g., What does your space do for you and your family? Or, how does it benefit your employees?) immediately makes your messaging provocative rather than promotional.

The goal: tug the heartstrings, not the purse strings.