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Building owners beginning to see business benefits of healthier buildings, new report finds

Building owners, developers, managers and investors in the US are increasingly interested in creating healthier buildings – with many already starting to see the business benefits of doing so, according to a new report by Dodge Data & Analytics, on which the Word Green Building Council was a research partner.

The report, The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016, produced in partnership with the Canada Green Building Council and Delos, suggests that the US is poised for wider adoption of building practices that prioritise the physical, mental and social well-being of tenants and occupants.

The report states that the top five healthier building features currently in use include better lighting/daylighting exposure, products that enhance thermal comfort, spaces that enhance social interaction, enhanced air quality and products that enhance acoustical comfort.

Other key US findings of the report include:

  • More than half of owners do not know the impact of their healthy building investments on business benefits like leasing rates and asset values. But among those that report an impact, 73 percent report faster rates and 62 percent report higher values.
  • 69 percent of owners that measure employee satisfaction and engagement report improved satisfaction and engagement due to their healthier building investments.
  • According to architects and interior designers, the top driver for greater investment in healthier buildings is improved public awareness of the health impacts of buildings.

The report was primarily focused on the US and Canada, with the Canada Green Building Council producing a subset of the report: Healthier Buildings in Canada 2016: Transforming Building Design and Construction. This found that nearly half of Canadian commercial building owners (46 percent) say they are able to lease space more quickly in buildings with healthy features, and of the owners that report they see a positive impact on the value of their buildings with healthier practices, over one third (38 percent) see an increase of seven percent or more.

Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC, said:

“Over the last ten years we’ve seen a big shift in emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of buildings and enhancing occupant health and wellness. I am pleased to see that the Healthier Buildings in Canada report confirms that Canadian owners are noticing how healthier building practices can benefit their bottom line.”

But there was also some analysis and comparison of global trends on health and wellbeing in the main report.

Key findings here include:

  • European respondents reporting less frequent use of spaces that enhance tenant mood, spaces that enhance social interaction or spaces that create opportunities for physical activity than their North American or Asian counterparts.
  • A much higher percentage of Asian respondents use features that enhance air quality than those in North America or Europe.
  • Products that enhance thermal comfort are more frequently used in Asia and Europe than they are in North America.

In 2013, Delos launched the International WELL Building Institute, which is a sponsor of WorldGBC’s Better Places for People campaign on heath and wellbeing in green buildings. The International WELL Building Institute administers the WELL Building Standard, the building standard which focuses exclusively on human health and wellness.

The U.S. Green Building Council also provided key support on the report.

Download the full study, The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016: Tactical Intelligence to Transform Building Design and Construction SmartMarket Report.

You can also download the Canadian subset report, Healthier Buildings in Canada 2016: Transforming Building Design and Constructionhere.