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Green Buildings’ Impact Expands


By Dan Hounsell Energy Efficiency
Sustainability with buildings in the icon of recycling

Over the last two decades, the green buildings movement has transformed many institutional and commercial facilities to minimize their impact on the environment. The movement also has dominated the planning and decision-making of many facility managers responsible for product specification and overall building operations.

Now a growing number of people inside and outside facilities are realizing that the effects of green buildings and sustainability are even more far-reaching. Working in a sustainable building is good for people’s health and well-being, according to a growing body of research on the impacts of green buildings on occupants’ health and productivity.

Initially, the green buildings concept focused on reducing the environmental impact of buildings by improving factors such as energy efficiency and waste management. But as health and wellness have moved up the list of priorities for employees, building developers and owners are moving beyond environmental goals to provide amenities that promote health and foster productivity, according to eco-business.

In Singapore, the Green Mark for Healthier Workplaces scheme was launched to promote employee health alongside environmental sustainability in the office. Similarly, the WELL Building Standard, administered by the International Well Building Institute, rates buildings according to the extent to which wellness has been integrated into the built environment.

More employers also realize the benefits of employee health for their businesses and are working to integrate features and programs into the work environment that can boost job satisfaction and innovation. Businesses find there is significant risk mitigation and reduction in absenteeism when employees are more engaged and motivated by a healthy work environment, says Emma McMahon, director of sustainability at CBRE, a commercial real estate services company.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and chief editor of Facilitiesnet.com.

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