JUST GOOD BUSINESS CASE STUDY : Space-Based Productivity; Embracing Green Far from Being Just A[euro]nice-to-Havea[euro], Green Buildings Are Proving Their Worth around the World A[euro]" Not Only in Terms of ROI and Energy Savings, but Also in Increased Employee Productivity. A Kiwi whoa[euro][TM]s Now Heading the World Green Building Council Explains Why

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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 products involved are not yet available on the scale that would make individual components cheaper. …