Estimates of potential nationwide productivity and health benefits from better indoor environments: an update.

Posted by Siru Heiskanen on Nov 18, 2016

Authors: Fisk, W.

Year of publication: 2000

Publication: Indoor air quality handbook, 4, pp. 1–38.

Keywords: sick-building syndrome (SBS), productivity, health, indoor air quality, allergy, asthma,

Link to publication

Poor indoor environment affects worker productivity both directly and indirectly through health, causing respiratory diseases, allergies and asthma, and sick building syndrome (SBS). The costs of workers exceed the energy and other building related costs, making it beneficial to invest in productivity even slightly: a 1% increase could justify even doubling the energy costs.

By reviewing literature, researchers estimated that annually in the U.S., upper respiratory diseases cost up to $70 billion in productivity through missed and restricted workdays, asthma and allergy around $150 billion, and SBS around $50 billion. All of these health issues have been linked to the indoor environment and especially the quality of the indoor air.


By investing in better indoor environment, the potential saving through increased productivity were estimated to be around $40 to $250 billion in the U.S. annually:

  • $6 - $14 billion in reduced respiratory disease
  • $2 - $4 billion in reduced allergies and asthma
  • $15 - $38 billion in reduced sick building syndrome symptoms
  • $20 - $200 billion in improved worker performance

Have a question? Send us a message | We will be in touch shortly