The Importance of Environment and Built Environment
It is estimated that nearly sixty percent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from our built environment. It is also estimated that we spend nearly eighty percent of our lives indoors where air quality is vital to our health.
There is an increasing interest and desire for homeowners, office occupies, developers, architects, and others to follow more environment sustainable practices such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), as well as the WELL Building Institute out of New York City that is growing by leaps and bounds. Additionally, there are new air quality systems and monitoring standards arising from organizations like RESET.
What once started more of a fringe, environment sustainable movement, has transformed into increasingly mainstream.
There are the economic sustainability implications.
Study after study shows that fighting and leading the way in terms of environment helps to enable better returns on investment, higher resale value, more productive employees, better retained employees, more profitable organizations, and overall healthier people and communities.
In the middle of a global pandemic, what is more important than doing something small to improve the overall health of people?
According to the global building council, economic sustainability architecture and buildings that attain green building certification and similar parameters have: increased rental value, higher occupancy rates, and lower operating expenses than other buildings.
The premium? It could be between 0–30 percent!
This also ties into the operating expenses of an organization or school. For instance, LEED analyzed over 30 certified LEED schools. The findings might not surprise you. The energy reduction was over 33 percent and translated into average savings of $.38 per square foot per year.
A Harvard study from 2015 showed that people working in more sustainable environment, LEED-style buildings have better overall health and better cognitive functioning scores.Some of the tangible benefits to an organization and their Human Resources perspective include:
- Improved morale and culture
- Better performance
- Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
- Lower retention issues
The reason for this is simple: better air quality, improved ventilation, better lighting and lighting controls, more comfortable environments, and better acoustics all can contribute to a better sustainable environment. The temperature control, along with other elements, can help create an up to 15 percent increase in productivity, according to Carnegie Mellon University.
Overall wellbeing is significantly impacted by LEED and other green building attributes. The return on investment is clear; however, like many other preventative and visionary methods, it must require investment upfront for longer term vision and thinking. The payback is there, and it would be beneficial to have more companies, governments, and organizations helping to support Economic Sustainability Development, healthier communities, and better building practices particularly in the middle of a pandemic during Earth Day Month when health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Are you interested in helping to transition to more sustainable development, renewable energy with passive solar and battery, simple composting in office or school settings, or just want to have a better Return on Investment for your buildings and organizations?
Happy to help!