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The why and the how

Since the launch of the Better Places for People Office and Retail reports, our national green building councils have been hard at work getting their members to understand the “why” and “how” of healthy buildings.

The why demonstrates the benefits of healthy buildings to members and the people for whom they build the buildings.

The how is the three-pronged metrics framework – a how-to for 1) conducting air quality testing, 2) surveying occupants, and 3) compiling and analysing organisational and economic data.

Just like it was for green buildings, the learning and action curve is steep for healthy buildings, but one member GBC in particular, GBC Brazil, has taken the lead in South America in advancing the case for healthy buildings.

GBC Brazil and the perception metrics

GBC Brazil, in partnership with IPT (Instituto de Pesquisas Technologicas – Technological Research Institute), is currently surveying member companies to gain insight into how people feel about their health and wellbeing while being in a Brazilian office environment. Through an online questionnaire, employees were asked about indoor air quality (IAQ), ventilation, thermal comfort, lighting and acoustic quality, space occupation and ergonomics, green areas and views, location, transportation and general amenities. Interestingly, the survey was provided to both certified buildings (LEED CI) and non-certified buildings in order to see if there was a difference in the way the employees felt in a green building.

A unique opportunity

While the list of the certified companies came from GBC Brazil’s database, a unique opportunity with a group of female facilities managers (FMs) allowed GBC Brazil to connect with non-certified building employees. That opportunity came from a FM of a large South American bank that is part of a group made up of 460 facilities managers and directors from companies throughout the country that are all women. Through this group of female leaders, the survey was delivered to non-certified buildings.

Then, from this FM contact, GBC Brazil organised a meeting with 30 women at the Covestros’ office (a GBC Brazil member), to explain their research and work on health and wellbeing in buildings. The group also received a tour of Convestros’ LEED NC Platinum building.

Results coming soon

The survey results are currently being tabulated by GBC Brazil and IPT and should be made public soon. Interim results suggest that certain aspects of certified green buildings make people more focused at work and give more employees satisfaction with their workplace than those that are not certified. We are excited for the full results!

Maira Macedo is Coordinator of Institutional and Government Relations inGreen Building Council Brazil.

For those interested in developing their own surveys for office perception, the Better Places for People site contains a host of guidance notes on the topic. For those interested in the survey that GBC Brazil is using, please contact Maíra at