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Global Project to Boost Business Case for Health and Productivity Benefits of Green Buildings

​Media release from World Green Building Council

3 MARCH, 2014: A major global project which will help to define the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings is being formally launched today by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).
The topic is rising up the global release estate sector’s agenda as organizations begin to understand the business benefits of greener, healthier buildings. With 85 per cent of a company’s costs spent on salaries and benefits, even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can have a dramatic impact on organizational profitability. 

Studies have found:
  • Up to 11% gains in productivity from improved ventilation 
  • Up to 23% gains in productivity from improved lighting design 
  • Significant improvement in employee recruitment and retention as a result of green retrofits.
However, challenges remain in attempting to robustly measure health and productivity outcomes, and attaching financial value to them. The 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 can then be used to better inform investment decisions.

WorldGBC can announce today that the corporate sponsors for the project are Jones Lang LaSalle, Lend Lease and Skanska. Additional support is also being provided by the Hong Kong Green Building Council.

Jane Henley, CEO of WorldGBC, 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.”

Claudia Hamm, Head of Strategic Workplace (EMEA) at Jones Lang LaSalle, said, “Our recent experience has confirmed that when making strategic location decisions, corporate clients are shifting their focus away from space efficiencies and are asking questions about the environmental credentials of the space and how it will support the productivity of their staff.

“I am delighted that JLL is sponsoring this exciting and invaluable project. My colleagues and I across our Strategic Workplace and Energy & Sustainability teams are very much looking forward to being involved in the wide-ranging discussions as the research evolves.”

Geoff Dutaillis, Group Head of Sustainability at Lend Lease, said, “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. 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 endeavour. 

“As one of the largest international property and infrastructure companies, our focus is on continuing to invest in ‘health and wellbeing’ strategies for our employees, partners and visitors.”
Staffan Haglind, Green Business Officer at Skanska, said, “The situation today – where buildings’ impact on human health, wellbeing and performance is usually not taken into consideration – is not good enough. 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.”
Conrad Wong, Chairman of Hong Kong GBC, said, “The HKGBC aims to raise green building awareness by engaging the public, the industry and the government. Green building does not only mean improving energy efficiency, but also providing a healthy and productive indoor environment for daily living. The aim of this project coincides with our vision and the HKGBC is delighted to become a funding partner of the project and to work side by side with the WorldGBC to boost the development of healthy green building.”

With the support of Green Building Councils and their members from around the world, and a steering group of experts in this field (see notes to editors), the final report is expected in Autumn 2014.

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The steering committee, which will meet monthly to provide strategic guidance on the project, will consist of:
Miles Keeping (Chair), Deloitte Real Estate
Vivian Loftness, Carnegie Mellon University
Che Wall, Flux Consultants
Claudia Hamm, Jones Lang LaSalle
Duncan Young, Lend Lease
Staffan Haglind, Skanska
Dr. Fiona Adshead, independent advisor
Mark Nicholls, independent advisor
Hong Kong Green Building Council
John Alker, UK Green Building Council (lead author)
Roper Limoges, US Green Building Council
The technical committee, experts from around the world which will have a ‘hands-on’ role in researching and producing report content, includes:

David Richards, Arup
Andy Dengel, BRE
Neil Billet, Buro Happold
Vyt Garnys, CETEC
Rebecca Pearce, CBRE
Judith Heerwagen, Government Services Administration 
Pilar Medina, Green Building Council of Colombia
Paul Appleby, independent advisor
Richard Francis, Monomoy
Frank Hovorka, REVHA 
Bill Browning, Terrapin Consulting 
Leena Thomas, University of Sydney
Andrew Thatcher, University of the Witwatersrand

The project builds upon WorldGBC’s report The Business Case for Green Building which summarised the existing research into the health benefits of sustainable buildings. Published in March 2013, the report acknowledged that more work was needed to build the evidence base and translate academic research into information that could be used to inform business decisions.

Visit to read WorldGBC’s report The Business Case for Green Building.

Media Contact:
Karen Jamal
World Green Building Council
+61 2 6288 3419

About the World Green Building Council
The World Green Building Council connects a global coalition of more than 100 not-for-profit organizations and 27,000 visionary companies with a single mission: to drive the buildings sector towards sustainability and ensure our buildings deliver their full potential. Green Building Councils work locally to define and deploy best practice in the market, help governments shape policy, and build a culture of cross-sector collaboration. Our collective movement scales the local to the global: protecting the natural environment, enhancing the health and well-being of individuals and whole communities, improving energy security and resource efficiency, and creating green growth and jobs.  See:

  • Studies have linked improved ventilation with up to 11 per cent gains in productivity 
  • Studies have linked improved lighting design with up to a 23 per cent gain in productivity 
  • Studies have shown significant improvement in employee recruitment and retention as a result of green retrofits