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Better and better

It’s no coincidence that the word ‘better’ features in two of the World Green Building Council’s current and high profile campaigns.

Last month at our annual Congress held in Hong Kong, we launched our new campaign on the upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris (known as COP21 in UN jargon) called Better Build Green.

The campaign aims to tell the world that green building is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to tackle climate change and keep global temperature rises within the 2 degrees limit. And, in doing so, it also creates much wider economic and societal benefits.

The message is simple: not only had we better build green if we are to reach this two-degree world tomorrow, but we are better off today if we do.

So how does this relate to health and wellbeing in buildings?

Green buildings are of course not just better for the environment. They are in many cases better for people too. And while the main thrust of Buildings Day – the first ever day at any COP dedicated to buildings’ role in addressing climate change – will be about reducing emissions, we know we will only succeed in greening building if we can provide direct benefits to people today through green building. For this reason, there is a clear link between our COP campaign and Better Places for People.

And so this week we’ll be telling the world why we’re better off today by building green by launching new campaign materials dedicated to buildings and health and wellbeing for people. We’ll also be releasing some brand new outputs from the Better Places for People campaign, including a guidance note on creating employee perception surveys in offices in a clear and consistent manner. These are essential if workers are to feedback to their employers on how they feel about their offices and how they perceive their environment impacts upon their health, wellbeing and productivity.

In other respects, Better Places for People continues at pace, with the launch of a UK Task Group examining health and wellbeing in homes only last month. This group will tackle some challenging questions facing the residential sector – such as how best to measure the health and wellbeing outcomes in homes, and what is the evidence base on the link between health and wellbeing and well-designed, sustainable homes – on their way to producing a report in late 2016.

In the mean time I’d urge you to visit the Better Build Green website ( and share and adapt the range of campaign materials available to download under the resources section. Together we can spread the message that green buildings are simply better: better for people and better for the planet.

Terri Wills is the CEO of the World Green Building Council