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Healthy Buildings, Happy Occupants


By Greg Zimmerman Green

The era of sick-building syndrome isn’t fully behind us – there are still a lot of bad buildings out there – but we’ve made a ton of progress. That's especially true as we've learned the profound effect buildings have on occupants' health and wellness. For FMs, the new goal isn’t just to make sure that a building isn’t detrimental to health and wellness, it’s to implement strategies that can actually make occupants healthier and more well. 

But how? Most of you are probably not working in a brand new, gleaming LEED Platinum facility. Even so, as Building Operating Management’s Senior Editor, Naomi Millán writes in a recent cover story, “Even given the limitations of existing facilities and tight budgets, there’s still a lot that facility managers can do to foster wellness through their facilities.”

There are simple things every FM can do, like encouraging movement as much as possible —  encouraging occupants to take the stairs by keeping access to them clear and uncluttered…and the doors unlocked. But also, simply making sure air is clean and healthy in the facility by doing scheduled preventive maintenance on HVAC systems. Get creative: Work with human resources to provide incentives for furniture upgrades for employees if they meet certain wellness targets. Make it fun!

And if you want to go all out, consider the WELL Building Standard — a relatively new LEED-like rating system that offers all kinds of strategies for improving the health and wellness of occupants. Available as a free download, it's a great place to look for suggestions on improvements in any building.

This Quick Read was compiled by Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor of Building Operating Management magazine, greg.zimmerman@tradepress.com. Read more about from him about the intersection of healthy buildings and sustainability.

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