The goal of this assignment is to understand the impact of sustainable design on the productivity and health of employees in their respective work environments. Employees spend a significant portion of their day in their work environment, whether at home or in another building. Therefore, it is essential to provide and set up a proper work environment so that their health is not negatively affected. Additionally, the following research papers show that addressing the health of employees will positively benefit their productivity. The design changes that are covered in this paper are introducing ergonomic furniture, the addition of indoor plants and outdoor views, and switching out CFL bulbs for LED bulbs. Each change affects the triple bottom line in its own way, as outlined below.
This project was completed by taking recent research papers, and outlining how the design changes benefit the employee while providing the employer with increased profits. This was done by analyzing the triple bottom line for each research paper. This project was completed as part of the Sustainability, Health, and Productivity to Accelerate a Quality Built Environment course at Carnegie Mellon University, taught by Vivian Loftness.
The first design change was the addition of ergonomic furniture. In a 2020 laboratory experiment at Cornell University, NY, Kar & Hedge identified that the use of ergonomically-fitted (E-F) workstations as opposed to self-adjusted (S-A) furniture resulted in a 41% reduced risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
The second design change was the addition of indoor plants and outdoor views to the work environment. In a 2019 virtual reality experiment at Harvard University, Yin et al identified that the addition of indoor plants and outdoor views to the work environment resulted in a 71% decrease in worker stress and anxiety. In a 2015 laboratory experiment at University of Warwick, Oswald et al identified that a decrease in stress and anxiety resulted in a 13% increase in productivity levels.
The third and final design change was the addition of LED light bulbs. In a 2020 field experiment of 30 non-air-conditioned garment factories in Bangalore, India, Adhvaryu et al. determined that the retrofit of CFL to LED light bulbs resulted in a 1.5% increase in profits through productivity and an 85.7% decrease in lighting energy use.