• Occupants in LEED-rated/green buildings were more satisfied with thermal comfort compared to occupants in conventional buildings (0.36 versus −0.16) and more satisfied with air quality in their workspace (1.14 versus 0.21).
  • Even when considering only conventional buildings that were less than 15 years old, the mean satisfaction score with air quality was significantly higher for LEED-rated/green buildings (1.14 versus 0.52).
  • When including only buildings 15 years old or newer in the conventional category, no statistically significant relationship was found for the IEQ categories of lighting and acoustics.

Fowler and Rauch (2008) used the CBE questionnaire to survey the occupants of 12 GSA green buildings. All of the green buildings scored above the CBE median for general occupant satisfaction, with the average being 22 percent higher than the CBE median.

Fowler et al. (2010) assessed 22 GSA green buildings and also used the CBE questionnaire. They found that, on average, occupant satisfaction with the green buildings in general was 27 percent higher than the CBE baseline, except for lighting, where it was the same as the baseline.

Miller et al. (2009) conducted a survey of 154 buildings that were deemed green by virtue of either an ENERGY STAR® label or LEED certification (any level) to determine if green buildings provided more productive environments. They gathered data for sick days and self-reported productivity percentages from building occupants who had moved to a new green building. Some 534 tenant responses were collected from buildings located across the United States. They found that 55 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that employees in green buildings were more productive, while 45 percent suggested no change. They also found that 45 percent of the respondents agreed that workers were taking fewer sick days than before moving to a green building, while 45 percent found it was the same as before, and 10 percent reported more sick days (the 10 percent were all in ENERGY STAR®-labeled buildings).

Baird et al. (2012) sought to determine whether there were any significant differences in the users’ perceptions of a range of factors concerned with the operation, environmental conditions, control, and degree of satisfaction between sustainable and conventionally designed buildings.

The set of sustainably designed buildings (defined as either recipients of national awards for sustainable design or highly rated in terms of their country’s buildings sustainability rating tool(s) or had pioneered some aspect of green architecture) included 31 commercial and institutional buildings (at least six different building types) located in 11 different countries. Surveys were gathered from 2,035 occupants. The survey questionnaire and baselines for comparison were from the Buildings in Use (BIU) database. The comparison sample of 109 conventionally designed buildings was compiled from the BIU database and included buildings that had been surveyed during a similar time period as the sustainable buildings were surveyed. Baird et al. (2012) found the following:

  • An overall improvement in temperature and air quality in sustainably designed buildings was statistically significant. The sustainable buildings were perceived to be colder on average in winter but much the same (still on the hot side) in summer, whereas their air was perceived to be both fresher and less smelly year round.
  • Lighting also showed a considerable and statistically significant improvement in the sustainably designed buildings when compared to the conventional buildings.
  • No significant difference for noise was found in the sustainable buildings compared to the conventional buildings. There was a perception of slightly too much noise from various internal sources (e.g., conversations, telephones) in both samples.
  • For the sustainable buildings, all of the factors in the satisfaction category showed a significant improvement over the conventional buildings. Occupants of sustainable buildings perceived


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