Often, when the eco-media discusses green innovations and ways to improve how efficient our energy systems are, we indirectly think about reducing greenhouse gases. Although this is essential, this isn’t the way to get major companies to comply with new technologies and sources of electricity. You have to tell them to think about their employees.
The causation between energy efficient designs and employees/workers probably isn’t obvious to you. It wasn’t to me either, until an amazing (and highly recommended) book from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), called Natural Capitalism, showed me the link.
First, many companies and agencies don’t have a direct interest in protecting the environment. It’s a complete shame, since we know their destructive habits aren’t helpful to the world population, but we often know this is the truth.
The reason why a company might invest in green technology, is to reduce their costs. But, as pointed out by RMI, most of the expenses poured out from companies are in their worker’s salaries (see below). So, if they want to save money, they need to make the most out of the workers they have.
They don’t need to pay employees less, or get rid of some – but companies should work towards improving their efficiencies. They can do this through green innovations in the buildings and energy efficiency.
Let’s go to Wal-Mart in Lawrence, Kansas for an example. As an experiment, they put half of the store in natural lighting, while the other was in the regular, fluorescent light. The naturally lit side of the store had higher sales, and workers preferred working on that side of the store (and thus, were more efficient).
A VeriFone warehouse in California was renovated one year on an extremely low budget. They were able to add more daylighting, a filtration system, and improve their energy efficiency. They expected to pay for this over 7.5 years, but was paid back in much less time, thanks to the 45% decrease in absenteeism and the great increase in productivity in their workers.
It just goes to show that green innovations don’t have to be just about doing your part for the environment – they can help you too. They can reduce a company’s bills, while making happy customers and workers alike. It’s an interesting thought, and definitely one many should consider in their workplace.