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Section 607 of Public Law 109-115 directed GSA to promote the use of stairs in all GSA-controlled facilities. In addition, the Joint Explanatory Statement for the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act encouraged GSA to undertake a stronger effort to promote the use of stairs in GSA-controlled facilities.
Promoting the use of stairwells requires a multi-faceted approach. First, the physical and aesthetic characteristics of the stairwell should be improved to enhance the attractiveness of the space. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), many employees do not take the stairs at work because “they perceive them as unattractive or unsafe.” However, a CDC study of the Kroger Center Rhodes Building in Atlanta revealed that physical changes to the staircases can increase stairwell use among building occupants. Internal communications that encourage employees to choose the stairs regularly also are necessary to foster a shift from elevator to stairwell utilization. GSA plays an important role in advancing both of these approaches and encourages other agencies to do the same. Promoting the use of stairwells can aid in improving employee health and contribute to a reduction in energy costs.