Health and Environmental benefits of Green (office) buildings

Green office buildings have numerous benefits. From addressing climate change and creating sustainable communities to driving economic growth. But what exactly is a green office, and how is it beneficial to business growth and personal health? We discuss this below.

 

What is a Green Office?

A green office building has zero negative impact on the environment.

Green office buildings are designed to improve the quality of our lives and preserve natural resources. Notable things found in green offices include renewable energy like solar energy, non-toxic and sustainable materials, and energy-efficient resources.

Green offices have great indoor air quality, are adaptable, and are designed to reduce environmental pollution.

Many green offices are built with recycled and reused materials, which makes them more sustainable. Since human naturally adore nature, it’s unsurprising that people who work in green offices say they feel better in them, and that it helps them work better.

Green offices have numerous benefits. We have highlighted some of these benefits and grouped them in these categories: environmental, social and health, and economic.

 

Environmental benefits of Green Office buildings

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the building sector accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of all solid waste generated in developed countries.

Unfortunately, at this rate, if nothing’s done to reduce these numbers, we’ll have more wildfires, more extreme weathers and less food to eat. Nobody wants that, and thanks to scientists, green buildings can fix this.

  • Research shows that green office buildings not only reduces negative impacts on the environment but also use less natural resources.
  • Furthermore, green office buildings generate their own energy. In Australia, these buildings have been shown to produce 62% fewer greenhouse gases than normal buildings. In fact, if Australians built green offices to meet the minimum industry requirements, they would save 51% potable water yearly.
  • In India, green office buildings save up to 40 to 50% energy than conventional buildings.
  • In the US, green office buildings consume less water (around 11 per cent) than non-green buildings.
  • The recycled and reused materials that make up green office buildings help protect our planet.
  • Results of a 2017 study conducted by Havard, Syracuse and SUNY Universities, reveal that participants in green office environments performed better and were more productive than those in conventional office buildings.
  • The same study found that people who work in well-ventilated office environments had the highest levels of cognitive function than those in normal office buildings.

 

Economic benefits of Green Office buildings

Green office buildings have numerous economic and financial benefits. Some of them include:

  • Cost savings: The recycled and re-used materials found in green office buildings are inexpensive and are easily sourced. Moreover, green office buildings are energy-efficient and energy-saving.
  • Green office buildings have low construction costs. Surprisingly, they have high property value too!
  • Green office buildings create jobs. In 2014, Canadian green office buildings generated $23.45 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which amounts to nearly 300,000 full-time jobs.
  • In the US, green office building accounted for more than 3.3 millions jobs in 2018.
  • Increased asset value: A 2016 report showed that green buildings enjoy increased asset value. Whether they were new or renovated, building owners reported that they recorded 7 per cent more increase in green asset value than conventional buildings.
  • Green office environment command lower energy costs. Because they are energy-efficient and energy-saving, their cost of maintenance is low, including the costs required for getting office materials.
  • Green office buildings use renewable energy that significantly reduce the cost of power, heating and cooling. Maintenance costs is 20% lower than traditional buildings.
  • Green office buildings are a great investment and good value for money. According to the California Sustainable Building Task Force, if you invest two percent in green buildings, you’ll save more than 10% of that investment in the long term. For instance, if you have a building project that’s around a million dollars and you invest $20,000 in green design, you’ll reap profits worth $200,000 in savings in 20 years.

 

Social and health benefits of Green Office buildings

While green offices and green houses impact positively on the environment and businesses, they’re socially rewarding, too. For instance, green office buildings are known to improve worker’s productivity. People who live in green homes admit they feel better and enjoy improved indoor air quality. Other social benefits of Green Office buildings are:

  • Well-ventilated green office buildings boost brain performance, according to a 2015 study. Participants of the study recorded 101% increase in brain test scores.
  • According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, employees who worked in green offices with windows slept an average of 46 minutes more every night.
  • Green buildings have better indoor air quality (due to less CO2 concentrations and well-ventilated areas). As per researchers, this can boost our performance up to 8%. Besides, since we spend most of our times in our offices…green designs make a fantastic addition!
  • Green offices attract new talents. Because of their appealing green designs, they’re proven attention magnet for job seekers. As a result, these offices are perfect for lifting the profile of any organisation struggling to attract top talents.
  • With an increasing demand to reduce carbon emissions, companies that make an effort to adopt green practices and build green office buildings are more likely to maintain positive public relations that those who don’t. Besides, with people becoming increasingly concerned about saving the environment, companies driving this habit are like to record higher number of new customers seeking their services.
  • Green environment are excellent stress removers. Evidence show that communities with green spaces and buildings are likely to have healthier citizens than those without, reducing the pressure on public health care systems and workers. Consequently, this contributes to a stronger economy.

 

How to make green offices more sustainable?

Making a green office more sustainable is much more than introducing natural elements into the office or getting sustainability accreditations such as WELL and LEED (which, in fact is good). Rather, it’s largely tied to why the business is going green and what it plans to achieve. While some green objectives are achievable within a short time, others aren’t, and may take longer before their result appear.

Green designers or experts can make your office more sustainable. With their help you or your organisation can reach your green objectives, achieve those carbon targets, and find innovative ways to keep your workspace green always.

 

Tips for maintaining Green Offices

  • Use electricity wisely: Be mindful of how you use electricity at work. Don’t just leave the office when you’re done for the day. Take out time to switch off all the appliances, including printers, computers, and lights at the office. This can significantly reduces your energy use and light bills. Even better, you can get energy-saving appliances for your office.
  • Buy environmentally-friendly office products. Dump the idea of purchasing office products that harm the environment. Instead, buy products that are certified safe for the environment. This could include 100% recycled office paper and cleaning materials that contains more organic ingredients.
  • Try going paper free. Much as this can be difficult since we’re used to printing all the time, going paper free actually helps maintain green offices. So, print only when necessary. Otherwise, try reading directly from your computer.

 

SOURCES / REFERENCES

https://www.worldgbc.org/benefits-green-buildings

https://www.corporatesuites.com/benefits-of-having-a-green-office/

https://convene.com/catalyst/green-offices-better-jobs/

https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/Green-Buildings-Have-Psychological-Environmental-Benefits–23561