Zemo Trevathan and Associates, Inc.Zemo Trevathan and Associates, Inc.
The ROI of a Re-Lamping Project
Consulting Services assisting Businesses in succeeding at Fulfilling the triple bottom line of People, profit and the planet.
The Business Challenge
For over 30 years, this company has providing high-yield financial and brokerage services to clients worldwide. Most of the company's buildings are located in the greater New York City area and all are over 20 years' old. Some employees have requested many changes to the work environment and the most-requested change is for lighting, which is predominantly lit by fluorescent bulbs. Some employees complain of headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, and in general distraction from the fluorescent tubes buzzing. Since the complaints have been increasing in recent years, the facilities management team is investigating alternatives that may solve the problems, determine the real causes, and explore cost-effective options to recommend for budget approval.

The Zemo Trevathan and Associates Solution
Daylight or Natural light is an important yet over looked part of a healthy workplace. Changes in employee hormone balance occur without enough exposure to natural light. The disrupted hormone balance can lead to a lethargic and depressive mood. Daylight is essential for good health because of its beneficial effect on hormone balance. Your brain requires a certain amount of natural light each and every day. The natural light that hits your retina (light gathering area inside the eye) is tranZTAtted to an area of your brain called the pineal body. The pineal is the brain center for the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates daily body rhythms, most notably the day/night cycle (circadian rhythms). Normal melatonin levels are important for natural sleep cycles and proper immune system function. People affected by a lack of Daylight or Natural light exhibit extreme depressive behavior and complain of a lack of energy, increased need for sleep, a craving for sweets and exhibit weight gain as a result of their sedentary nature and unhealthy dietary habits. Employees may also be affected directly by long exposure to fluorescent lighting. At the very least, according to researchers in the U.K., certain types of fluorescent tubes leak radiation and some may lead to a depletion of brain chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin. This can lead to the kind of depression that in extreme situations precipitates suicide.

If the symptoms of employees at the company are caused by a low level of sunlight which leads to lethargic, less productive behavior, the facilities management seeks to substantiate the cause and recommend changing the lighting from the current configuration to a lighting system that simulates Daylight or Natural light. Even if the bulbs and installation would represent an initial cost, if productivity is affected positively, the investment could be rolled out to other buildings as well for greater return on investment. This study investigated the cost benefit and return on investment of switching from fluorescent bulbs to Daylight or Natural bulbs. Four floors of employees at the company will be studied, floors 10-11 as the intervention group (Daylight bulbs installed) and floors 14-15 as the control group (fluorescent bulbs installed). Metrics were collected for all floors simultaneously over three months as well as similar metrics from the year before during the same period.

Measurement of value impact requires metrics from several variables calculated: The participants, the intervention, and the metrics. For the design of the value analytics to succeed, the employees on all floors must be of a similar number, type, and function to ensure an "all things being equal" study. Computing the value of the light bulb program must ensure certainty that the group of employees receiving the Daylight bulbs do not differ in any important respect from those under the fluorescent lighting. Metrics will be collected as follows based the three variables mentioned:

Participants
  • Employee ID Numbers for Sales and support staff for the company on floors 11-12 and 14-15. Employees included in the study must have been working for the company for at least one year and must remain on the same floor during the duration of the study.
  • Titles
  • Tenure at company
  • Salaries
  • Previous year salaries
Metrics
  • Employee satisfaction surveys pre- and post-study
  • Number of Sick leave days for each floor by employee
  • Healthcare plan claims
  • Attrition: leave the company
  • Monthly sales figures
  • Productivity figures (calls being made, pipeline milestones being met, etc)
  • Previous years' data for all data above during same period
  • Speed of ramp up time
Intervention
  • Installation of Daylight bulbs on floors 10, 11
  • Installation of fluorescent bulbs on floors 14, 15
  • Installation cost of bulbs by fixture and by floor
  • Annual sustainability costs by fixture and floor
  • Estimated energy costs for each floor.
  • Previous years' energy costs for each floor during same period.
Once the data is collected, filtered for anomalies, and screened for accuracy, Zemo Trevathan and Associates analyzed the data utilizing statistical algorithms for isolating impact. The following questions were answered in this analysis:
  1. There a statistically significant relationship between fluorescent lighting and Daylight or Natural lighting in the workplace on the satisfaction, health, attrition, productivity, and financial outcomes of employees the company.
  2. Results from the study included the following:
    • Cost Savings to the organization over 3 years: $1.2M
    • No impact to productivity during changing of bulbs.
    • ROI on daylight bulbs: 95%
    • Optimization: 400% ROI for new employees and lower achievers.
  3. Recommendations: Daylight bulbs and desklamps for new employees (less than one year) and lower achievers.
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Zemo Trevathan and Associates, Inc., 111 Standing Rock Road, Chapel Hill, NC  27516
919.929.1917
info@ZemoTrevathan.com
@ZemoTrevathan
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My customers and investors expect the business to be green, local, organic, and with fair trade—and we are very active in this regard—but you can help us prioritize our activities and justify the costs. Our margins are very thin and we can’t do everything at once that we’d like to without a better business case.
--Vance Remick, Manager, General Store Café, Pittsboro, NC.

Your ideas and refinements to our sustainability measurement tool for chamber members helped us make sure the information we collected was relevant and meaningful. We greatly appreciate your input.
--Aaron Nelson, Executive Director, Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce, Chapel Hill, NC.
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The ROI of a Re-Lamping Project