Poor indoor air quality and outdoor pollution emission from transport can cause several diseases which affect labour productivity. The total burden of disease consists of many diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, cold and flu, cancer and many other symptoms which may be caused by indoor and outdoor pollution. Along with the pollution exposure, excessive use of vehicles can result in road congestion which increases the travel time and reduces the productive time.

Energy poverty-related health impacts see here.

The popular ways of measuring labour productivity in the energy efficiency context are either by measuring work performance or by measuring sick days. However, we need specific indicators for productivity impact that encompass every relevant aspect of productivity in relevance to energy efficiency actions. Therefore, this research measures productivity by defining different metrics of productivity namely active days, workforce performance and earning ability which results from two different energy efficiency improvement (EEI) actions (HVAC system with airtight building envelope and modal shift towards active transportation):

  1. The amount of active time available for productive work. This can be affected, for instance, by being sick- more precisely absenteeism and presentism, which reduces the amount of active time available.
  2. Workforce performance within a certain time frame. Indoor air quality and thermal comfort of tertiary buildings can improve the mental wellbeing of the entire workforce and this can result in more productive time for work.
  3. Earning ability/value added per unit of time worked. This can be affected, for instance, education increases productivity/earning ability per unit time worked.

This research shows that the implementation of improved energy efficiency actions would bring the following productivity benefits in the year 2030:

  • In Europe, on an average 4.5 active work days/person per annum can be gained by having more deeply retrofitted buildings, passive houses, and nearly zero energy buildings.
  • In addition, by improving the mental well-being on an average European country can gain around 15.7 million euro/year and on an average 1961 healthy life years per million population per annum can be gained by avoiding exposure to bad indoor air quality and conditions.
  • By opting for a modal shift towards active transportation, on an average 1.6 hours/driver can be saved from traffic congestion in a year during the peak hours.


Available documents from this Work Package

Literature review on social welfare impacts of energy efficiency improvement actions (D5.1)

Methodology and quantification: quantifying energy poverty-related health impacts of energy efficiency (D5.4)

Methodology and quantification: Labour productivity (D5.4a)