New study: Better schools, hospitals and offices key to improve European citizens’ health, well-being and productivity

November 26, 2018

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Brussels, Belgium, November 26, 2018: Investing in the renovation of offices, schools and hospitals would greatly improve the health, well-being and productivity of European citizens, according to a new study launched today by Buildings 2030 and conducted by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE).

The study finds that a holistic people-centric renovation of a typical office building can lead to up to a 12% increase in productivity. At a European scale, that could be worth up to €500 billion.

In schools with optimal indoor climate, students achieve the same results 2 weeks faster. Students’ academic performance could be improved by between 2% and 8% with optimal temperature, lighting, noise levels and air quality. The time gained could be used for extracurricular activities, holidays or to raise the educational performance further.

Hospital patients’ recovery time can be reduced by 10% on average due to improved indoor environmental quality, and 11% if optimal lighting is also provided. Put simply, average length of stay in hospitals (currently over a week) can be reduced by around 1 day resulting in a societal benefit of nearly €50bn.

In Europe, 90 million children and young people spend their weekdays in schools, colleges and universities. More than one in three of the working population are office-based. And every year, 90 million patients spend more than a week on average in hospitals. Yet, the impact of buildings on people’s health, well-being and performance is not well-defined, measured or monetised to improve the daily lives of all Europeans.

The study, conducted by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), is based on a review of more than 400 academic articles, dozens of case studies and expert interviews focusing on health, wellbeing and productivity in buildings. This research takes the first step at defining, measuring, quantifying and monetising the impact of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustics, controls and lighting on students, office workers and patients across Europe.

Offices account for 23% of the total floor area of Europe’s non-residential buildings, educational buildings comprise 17% with healthcare buildings accounting for 7%. Existing hospitals, schools and offices will still be with us for decades to come, yet the vast majority of European buildings need to be renovated to improve their energy performance.

The study can be downloaded at


About Buildings 2030:

Buildings 2030 [] is a non-profit platform promoting healthy and sustainable buildings. Our vision is for all buildings in Europe to provide people with comfortable, healthy and productive spaces, while minimizing their carbon footprint. The health and built environment sectors work together towards this common ambition.

About BPIE

The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) is a European not-for-profit think-tank with a focus on independent analysis and knowledge dissemination, supporting evidence-based policy-making in the field of energy performance in buildings. It delivers policy analyses, policy advice and implementation support. For more information visit


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