Byline: Vicki Jayne
In an industry tainted by the a[euro]leaky buildinga[euro] debacle, the quality reassurance underpinning a[euro]green stara[euro] rating is good news for reasons that go further than financial security.
a[euro]Though from the industry viewpoint, green building is a better way of doing things environmentally and sustainably, really it is about the people,a[euro] says Jane Henley.
In the five years since she became CEO of the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), the drive toward sustainable structures has intensified a[euro]" and the research supporting that drive has become more compelling.
Perhaps of particular relevance given todaya[euro]s emphasis on improving worker productivity are the studies revealing how healthier workspaces boost employee performance. Just a few examples:
a[euro]cents At the City of Melbournea[euro]s CHD, Australiaa[euro]s first 6-star Green Office Design rated building, productivity has risen by 10.9 percent with an estimated annual cost savings of A$2 million.
a[euro]cents Closer to home, a post-occupancy study of the Green Star certified Meridian Building (taken after the initial a[euro]holidaya[euro] effect of new premises) showed staff productivity has improved by about nine percent.
a[euro]cents Green schools have been shown to deliver a 20 percent faster progression in maths, 26 percent faster progression in reading and increased performance of about 10 percent a[euro]" just by providing students with views from windows.
Natural light, fresh air, access to views and more control over individual workspace temperature or light all affect performance a[euro]" as well as health, says Henley.
a[euro]Occupying a green building turns out to have a number of associated benefits a[euro]" therea[euro]s the brand association, therea[euro]s also the internal staff benefits. There are now so many international statistics showing increased productivity, fewer sick days, better concentration, memory retention, faster typing speed a[euro]" they all add up to productivity increases of around six to 15 percent.
a[euro]Given wages are the biggest outgoing for any business, if you can make a 10 percent improvement in productivity that significantly impacts the bottom line,a[euro] she says. a[euro]More so than the savings you make in energy or water or other features of green buildings.a[euro]
Theya[euro]ve also proven a good talent magnet, she adds, with companies occupying green buildings noting the impact on both attracting and retaining top employers a[euro]" particularly in the Gen X and Y age groups.
And while productivity measures may not spur property developers into embracing green, the tenancy premiums, investment returns (even in the downturn, New Zealand developers have managed to sell a[euro]greena[euro] buildings to overseas investors who are after that kind of spec) and future proofing aspects all look pretty appealing.
You could almost see a[euro]greena[euro] spec with its focus on quality and longevity as the total antithesis of the a[euro]leakya[euro] syndrome in terms of the overall approach to property development. There is a bit of front-end cost loading partly because of the higher quality specs and partly because some of the …