News Analysis

LEED Buildings Still Average in Occupant Satisfaction

Early versions of LEED pull ahead in air quality but lose ground with inadequate lighting, resulting in a tie with non-LEED buildings for overall workplace happiness.

With data from 65 LEED-certified buildings—but only those certified under LEED v2.2 or earlier—a recent study concludes that workers in LEED buildings are no more satisfied with indoor environmental quality than those in non-LEED buildings. While Stefano Schiavon, one of the authors of “Occupant satisfaction in LEED and non-LEED certified buildings,” published in October in Building and Environment, says that the overall finding was “unexpected,” other trends observed by the authors—including that workers in LEED buildings are slightly more satisfied with air quality and slightly less satisfied with amount of light—echo the findings of earlier studies.

The biggest sample size yet

As the authors note, similar studies comparing occupant satisfaction in LEED and non-LEED buildings have been done before—often concluding that LEED buildings do increase worker satisfaction—but the sample sizes were much smaller (see Occupant Satisfaction with LEED Buildings—A First Glimpse; also, Preliminary Study Supports LEED Productivity Benefits). “In previous studies, maybe the maximum sample size was 15 buildings, all of different sizes and age,” Schiavon told EBN.

Published May 23, 2014