Global Study to Investigate Health & Productivity Benefits of Green Buildings

An international study to identify the health and productivity benefits of green buildings was launched yesterday by the World Green Building Council. The study will provide clear details as to how green building strategies can positively affect the health and productivity of office building occupants as well as outline best practices to achieve results. The study will also develop a toolkit for office owners and occupants.

“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,” said Jane Henley, CEO of WGBC, in a statement. “This project aims to identify the metrics that will support investment in greener buildings.”

The corporate sponsors for the study include Chicago-headquartered Jones Lang LaSalle, Lend Lease, headquartered in Sydney, and Skanska, headquartered in Stockholm. Sick days, employee turnover and staff surveys will be investigated to gather information and insight as to how to best measure health and productivity in work environments.

“People are an organization’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,” said Claudia Hamm, head of strategic workplace at Jones Lang LaSalle, in a statement. “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 endeavor.”

A steering committee will meet monthly to provide strategic guidance on the project and a technical committee will actively research and produce report content. Both the steering and technical committees are comprised of green building leaders and stakeholders.

“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 with Skanska, in a statement. “I’m totally convinced that optimizing premises from a human perspective will help people as well as organizations to thrive and outperform. To support the development of the tools and metrics needed to make this happen is perfectly aligned with Skanska’s company values.”

The final report is expected to be available in fall 2014.