Phase 2: Evidence for Building Retrofits that Improve Organizational Productivity 

The Challenge: Improved Organizational Productivity through Improved Environments

Organizational productivity is the efficiency with which an organization operates and the balance between input costs and output values. Productivity improves when costs are reduced or when outputs increase in value.

Organizations spend approximately 10 times more for the staff who do the work than for the buildings they work in. Making the right choice of environmental  conditions can benefit an organization if it supports the employees, and can provide a double benefit if it also saves energy. Conversely, building conditions (even energy-saving ones) that create discomfort or add barriers to effective work can be costly for both the building operators and tenants.

National Research  Council (NRC) has studied the relationship between work environments and organizational  productivity for over 15 years, leading to clear evidence that organizations, their employees and the environment itself can all benefit when the right choices are made. These studies include experiments  at our facilities in Ottawa, in which we have tested the effects of lighting, ventilation, acoustics and controls technologies on task performance,  work engagement,  comfort, satisfaction, and well-being.  These have been complemented by field studies that have included visits to over 40 buildings across Canada and the northern United States and have included surveys, both online and in person, of over 4000 individual  employees.

In the approach described in this document, NRC and Continental Automated  Buildings Association (CABA) members  are poised to undertake a structured initiative to demonstrate that smart, integrated technologies  produce organizational productivity  gains in addition to energy and environmental savings. The result will transform the high-performance  buildings industry by establishing the built environment  as a strategic tool for organizations to achieve their goals.

Proposed Research - Demonstrating the Value of High-Performance Buildings
NRC is uniquely positioned to demonstrate that smart, integrated technologies produce organizational productivity gains in addition to energy and environmental  savings. We will demonstrate that these gains are related to improved indoor environment conditions and that their value is equivalent to other corporate programs.  This evidence will accentuate the importance and speed the adoption of these solutions in the high-performance  building industry.

This work will build upon the approach described in our 2014 white paper for CABA and in the World Green Building Council report "Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices". Using a balanced scorecard of meaningful metrics, we will demonstrate the value equivalents of technology investments in the built environment  in three stages:

Phase 1 synthesized existing data to enable decision-makers to benchmark  their buildings against others on multiple organizational productivity metrics. Partners will receive guidance  concerning how to use this information to make strategic building decisions for their organizations  for the benefit of the organization and its employees.  You can download Phase 1 documents here:

Download the full Phase 1 report 

Phase 1 Project Webinar 

Phase 1 Webinar Presentation 

Phase 2 will refine the framework from Phase 1 using partner-supplied data to increase the accuracy. Below is the Phase 2 Prospectus:


Data Collection Information


Access to full, completed research is only available to participating funding organizations.

Bronze Funder ($5K):
• Name and logo will be placed on the front page of the research report, slide deck, media releases, and marketing material.  
• Opportunity to participate in the final webinar with all the funders which will highlight the findings of the research in detail.   

• Ability to ask the questions to the research analysts.
• Final report, executive summary, presentations. 
Silver Funder ($10K) – Most Common Level: 
• All benefits of the Bronze Funder. 

• Will have a one (1) hour webinar specifically for your organization and hosted by the National Research Council (NRC).  Anyone from your organization can attend and receive a overview of the research findings.    

• Will be on the Steering Committee and allowed to: define the research scope and methodology, provide feedback and input regarding the direction of the study, and participate in Steering Committee webinars.  
Gold Funder ($15K): 
• All benefits of the Silver Funder.  

 • Will have the opportunity to have a case study incorporated within the research to highlight the work your organization has been doing in the area.  This case study will be completed by the National Research Council (NRC) as a side project at an additional cost, the cost will depend on the complexity of the proposed case study. 


We recently announced this CABA Landmark Research project and already these CABA members have committed to fund Phase 2:

The sponsors below sponsored Phase 1 of this project:


CABA seeks partners to conduct this important work.  For more information on this opportunity, please contact Greg Walker, CABA Research Director.

Greg Walker
CABA Research Director
Phone: 613.686.1814 x227