Workforce productivity improves with green buildings, says WorldGBC

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is today launching a major global project which aims to help define the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings.

According to the WorldGBC, organisations are beginning to understand the business benefits of greener, healthier buildings and with 85% of a company’s costs spent on salaries and benefits, it says that even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can have a dramatic impact on organisational profitability.

Citing recent GBC studies, the Council found that up to 11% gains could be made in productivity from improved ventilation, while up to 23% gains could be achieved in productivity from improved lighting design.

The findings also showed that there was “significant improvement in employee recruitment and retention as a result of green retrofits”.

However, the Council says challenges remain in attempting to robustly measure health and productivity outcomes, and attaching financial value to them.

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, it says, can then be used to better inform investment decisions.

The project is expected to create a ‘toolkit’ for office owners and occupiers to use. Sick days, employee turnover and staff surveys are all likely to be investigated as potential ways of standardising the measurement of health and productivity of staff in their workplace.

WorldGBC CEO Jane Henley 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.”

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie