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Global project to boost business case for health and productivity benefits of green buildings

A major global project which will help to define the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings is being formally launched by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).
 
The topic is rising up the global release estate sector’s agenda as organizations 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 organizational 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 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.

WorldGBC can announce today that the corporate sponsors for the project are Jones Lang LaSalle, Lend Lease and Skanska. The Green Building Councils of Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States and Colombia are also partnering on the project.

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.

“I am delighted that JLL is sponsoring this exciting and invaluable project. My colleagues and I across our Strategic Workplace and Energy & Sustainability teams are very much looking forward to being involved in the wide-ranging discussions as the research evolves.”

Geoff Dutaillis, Group Head of Sustainability at Lend Lease, said, “People are an organization’s greatest asset and lie at the heart of the broader sustainability challenge, which is to meet our needs for the future, while respecting nature – the very system that supports our existence. 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. The spaces we occupy are an integral part of this endeavour.

“As one of the largest international property and infrastructure companies, our focus is on continuing to invest in ‘health and wellbeing’ strategies for our employees, partners and visitors.”
 
Staffan Haglind, Green Business Officer at Skanska, said, “The situation today – where buildings’ impact on human health, wellbeing and performance is usually not taken into consideration – is not good enough. I’m totally convinced that optimizing premises from a human perspective will help people as well as organizations to thrive and outperform. To support the development of the tools and metrics needed to make this happen is perfectly aligned with Skanska’s company values.”

With the support of Green Building Councils and their members from around the world, and a steering group of experts in this field (see notes to editors), the final report is expected in Autumn 2014.

About the World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council connects a global coalition of more than 100 not-for-profit organizations and 27,000 visionary companies with a single mission: to drive the buildings sector towards sustainability and ensure our buildings deliver their full potential. Green Building Councils work locally to define and deploy best practice in the market, help governments shape policy, and build a culture of cross-sector collaboration. Our collective movement scales the local to the global: protecting the natural environment, enhancing the health and well-being of individuals and whole communities, improving energy security and resource efficiency, and creating green growth and jobs.  See: www.worldgbc.org