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How The Indoor Environment Affects Wellness and Health of Occupants


By Greg Zimmerman Green

One of the most important ongoing trends in high-performance buildings is the focus on how the indoor environment affects the wellness and health of occupants.

One of the most important ongoing trends in high-performance buildings is the focus on how the indoor environment affects the wellness and health of occupants.

You may have heard of rumblings of the new WELL standard — a LEED-like standard that offers points for various building strategies. It’s gaining momentum quickly, and many large real estate organizations — CBRE and JLL, for instance — have embraced WELL, recognizing its value.

In every sense of the phrase, focusing on wellness in buildings is a “feel-good” measure. But what many don’t realize is that there are tangible cost benefits as well. Beyond the discussion of productivity – which of course, is hard to prove, but it does stand to reason that employees who feel better, work better — a Harvard study showed that investments in wellness pay back 6 to 1 in terms of health care costs. One organization, Johnson & Johnson, estimated it saved $250 million on employee health care costs in a six-year period by investing in wellness strategies.

You read that right: one quarter of a billion dollars! Even your best, most impactful energy efficiency initiatives won’t approach that type of savings.

At next month’s High-Performance Buildings + Workplace (HPB+W) conference (May 17-18) in Arlington, Texas, we’ll have four educational sessions focusing on wellness, occupant health, and indoor air quality. These can be invaluable sources of information to getting started on your own wellness program in your building. HPB+W is free to attendees - register here.

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, Editor of Building Operating Management, greg.zimmerman@tradepressmedia.com. Read his cover story about GSA’s sustainable success in five key areas.

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