A major global project aiming to define the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings is being launched today by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).
The topic is rising up the global real estate sector’s agenda as organisations begin to understand the business benefits of greener, healthier buildings. With 85 per cent of a company’s costs spent on salaries and benefits, even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can have a dramatic impact on organisational profitability.
Studies have found:
- Up to 11% gains in productivity from improved ventilation
- Up to 23% gains in productivity from improved lighting design
- Significant improvement in employee recruitment and retention as a result of green retrofits.
However, challenges remain in attempting to robustly measure health and productivity outcomes, and attaching financial value to them. The WorldGBC’s latest project aims to establish a common way of capturing these benefits, and to provide best practice guidance on the type of green building features – such as daylighting, ventilation and indoor office environments – that enhance them. This can then be used to better inform investment decisions.
The Green Building Councils of Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States and Colombia are partnering on this project, alongside corporate sponsors Jones Lang LaSalle, Lend Lease and Skanska.
The research builds upon WorldGBC’s report The Business Case for Green Building which summarised the existing research into the health benefits of sustainable buildings.
Jane Henley, CEO of WorldGBC, said:
“While there is a growing body of research that firmly supports the connections between sustainable buildings and improved health, productivity and learning outcomes of those who occupy them, this evidence is yet to inform investment decisions in the same way as traditional financial metrics. This project aims to identify the metrics that will support investment in greener buildings.”
Claudia Hamm, head of strategic workplace (EMEA) at Jones Lang LaSalle, said:
“Our recent experience has confirmed that when making strategic location decisions, corporate clients are shifting their focus away from space efficiencies and are asking questions about the environmental credentials of the space and how it will support the productivity of their staff.”
Geoff Dutaillis, group head of sustainability at Lend Lease, said:
“As the fight for talent increases, corporate health and wellbeing strategies are increasingly being used as a competitive edge to attract and retain the best people.”
Staffan Haglind, green business officer at Skanska, said,
“I’m totally convinced that optimising premises from a human perspective will help people as well as organisations to thrive and outperform.”
The final report is expected in Autumn 2014.