Global project on 'green' office buildings launched

Global project on 'green' office buildings launched

The World Green Building Council (World GBC) has launched a major global project aimed at defining the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings around the world, and encouraging better informed investment decisions.

Based on studies that have found that there is up to 11 per cent gains in productivity from improved ventilation, and up to 23 per cent gains  from improved lighting design, the project puts forward the idea that even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can dramatically improve organisational profitability. This is especially so as 85 percent of a company’s costs are spent on salaries and benefits.

However, challenges remain in attempting to measure health and productivity outcomes and attaching financial value to them.  The WorldGBC project therefore aims to establish a common way of capturing these benefits while providing best-practice guidance on the type of green building features — such as daylighting, ventilation and indoor office environments — that enhance them. The results are expected to better inform investment decisions and improve employee recruitment and retention for businesses.

The corporate sponsors for the project are Jones Lang LaSalle, Lend Lease and Skanska.  The Green Building Councils of Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States and Colombia are also partnering on the project.

The project builds upon the WorldGBC’s report “The Business Case for Green Building” which was published in March 2013 and summarised existing research into the health benefits of sustainable buildings. It acknowledges that more work was needed to build the evidence base and translate academic research into information that could be used to inform business decisions.

Israeli project for a ‘green’ parliament building launched

The Israeli government has launched a project called Green Knesset, which includes a series of renovations to the country’s parliament. The long-term project aims to transform the Israeli parliament building, the Knesset, into an eco-friendly hub, making it cost-effective and efficient.

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said the project required a significant financial investment, but the anticipated savings would produce a strong return. “This is a blessed move of great importance,” he said. The project will include educating government employees on environmental matters and encouraging them to be more eco-friendly.

Phase one of the project will be implemented this year and will be characterised by 13 ventures focused on energy and water. It will include construction of a 4,500 square metre solar field to produce clean, renewable electricity, an energy centre to replace air-conditioning systems. The water churned out by the system will be used for irrigation and other purposes. A mechanism will be implemented to automatically shut down all computers in the facility at the end of the work day.

The government said that the energy-saving measures would reduce the carbon emissions and the ecological footprint of the Knesset.

Israel’s minister of national infrastructure, energy and water, Silvan Shalom, said the Green Knesset project would be a source of pride for the country and would inspire other countries. “This is a blessed move of great importance. Encouraging energy efficiency, the saving of electricity and advancing the use of natural gas and renewable energy will reduce pollution, preserve the environment and save a lot of energy,” he added.

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