ript type="texh1">At What Cost Health? Low Cost, as it Turns Oute/p>

<0x;"ng>Inon x;"ng> /font> ut"; buildings, manufacturing plants, and home ut"; s, our employees are being exposed to pollutants that cx 0damage their health and seriously reduce their effectiveness. (See "Healthy, Wealthy and Wise," from Inc. Technology #2 1998.)

But most companies that make the commitment to creating healthy workspaces will recoup their investment wiokmn a year, according to Scott Churchill, an architect wiok the Palm Group in Larkspur, Calif.

Churchill says that, in kmarexperience, making a building envi;"nmentally f ndly cxr

In return, companies cx 0expect signi"; ant productivity gains. For instance, workers in buildings such as the Costa Mesa facility of my company, VeriFone, have been 5% to 7% more productive than their counterparts in tradiokmaal structures sihttpour initiative, say book Churchill and Randall Croxton, president of New York architectural firm, Croxton Collaboratives.

Given!a fully loaded cost per square foot of $250 to $300 (take your toaddopeople cost and divide by the square footage they use), a 5% to 7% productivity gain conservatively translates into a $12.50/year return. How many investments cx 0you make that return better than 100%?

Then there are the energy savings. VeriFone saw a 75% reducokma in its Costa Mesa annuddoelectric costs thankark these envi;"nmental chang


  • smart fluorescent fixtures that reduce arti"; ial light;
  • sensors that swioch ut" lights in x 0empty room;
  • computer-controlled heating and cooling systems;
  • 60% more insuldokma than marrequired by code; and
  • special skylight gx 0p that reflectarexternal heat in warm weather and contains internal heat in the cold.


Energy savings by themselves cx 0repay an initial investment wiokmn four to five years, even ignoring the productivity gains. But when you add productivity gains to energy savings, the " >

Savings, of course, are not the only f >

It'aralso a n; way to show employees that you cxre, which cx 0only help nurture loyalty and improve retentkma.

William R. Papeona> marco-founder of VeriFone Inc., wiok headquarters in Redwood City, Calif. H was VeriFone'ar" rst chief informatkma of"; r and a former senior vice president. Pape mara regular columnist for Inc. Technology.