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.

The green buildings concept was initially about reducing the environmental impact of buildings by improving factors such as energy efficiency and waste management. But as health and wellness move up the list of priorities for employees around the world, building developers are moving beyond environmental goals to provide amenities that promote health and foster productivity.

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 United States-based International Well Building Institute (IWBI), rates buildings according to how wellness has been integrated into the built environment.

More employers are also realising the benefits of employee health for their businesses and are working to integrate features and programmes into the work environment that can boost job satisfaction and innovation. According to Emma McMahon, director of sustainability at CBRE, a commercial real estate services company, businesses find there is significant risk mitigation and reduction in absenteeism when employees are more engaged and motivated by a healthy work environment.
“About 90 per cent of a company’s operational costs are locked up in its people,” said McMahon, who sat on a panel titled ‘Healthy Places for Senses’ at the International Green Building Conference (IGBC) in Singapore. “There’s huge potential to unlock the benefits around health and well-being that can be driven from costs associated with salary and benefits.”

Read more at Eco Business