Green buildings study to investigate business case for sustainable workplaces



A global project has been launched to investigate the health and productivity benefits for people working in more sustainable office buildings.

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) officially launched the study on Monday to strengthen the business case for greener, low-carbon properties.

Studies have already found that improvements in ventilation and lighting design in office spaces can result in improved productivity, and that retrofitting offices to be greener aids employee recruitment and retention.

The council say that when 85% of a typical company’s expenses goes towards employees’ salaries and benefits, even small improvements to staff health and productivity can have a big impact on profitability.

However, it added that the benefits of sustainable workplaces are still poorly defined, and so it hoped to establish a common way of measuring them to support investment in greener buildings. 

Findings will be published in the autumn, when a toolkit is also expected to be developed to help office owners and occupiers reap the benefits.

“The situation today – where buildings’ impact on human health, wellbeing and performance is usually not taken into consideration – is not good enough”, said Staffan Haglind, green business officer at Skanska, one of the corporate sponsors of the study.

“I’m totally convinced that optimising premises from a human perspective will help people as well as organisations to thrive and outperform.” 

Meanwhile, Geoff Dutaillis, group head of sustainability at Lend Lease, another of the sponsors, added, “People are an organisation’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.”

The study was launched a day before the three-day Ecobuild exhibition kicked off at the ExCel Centre in London. 

Further reading:

Europe urged to develop ambitious energy efficiency retrofit plans

World Green Building Week to focus on health benefits of sustainable buildings

Buildings task group launched to define ‘zero-carbon’

Sustainable building means more attractive and comfortable homes

The Guide to Sustainable Homes 2013


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