Examining the benefits of green building and working environments

We have been talking a lot about workplace green operational practices and their benefits. How about the impact of the built environment on our health and working conditions? As a part of the training under the Green PolyU Awards – Green Office programme, a seminar to examine ‘green building’ was held on 25 July 2018 and provided much enlightenment to the audience on the various advantages of having green working environments.

To achieve sustainability in the workplace, we must not neglect the linkages between the working environments and the employees’ health conditions. A desirable working environment inside a green building means more than the well-known factors in improving water and energy efficiency or providing greenery – it also touches on delivering healthy environments for all employees and occupants through green building features.

Suggested by Dr Effie Hui from the Business Environment Council Limited, the ‘real’ green building is one having the capabilities to deliver satisfactory indoor environmental quality and improve health, comfort, and productivity of the employees and occupants.  Green buildings generally present healthy environments on the employees and occupants’ physical and mental health besides other essential features to reduce environmental impact and connecting the neighborhood.

Effie Hui suggests green buildings affect our wellbeing       Explaining the benefits of green buildings

Green building designs recognize the importance of the use of natural lighting and ventilation to the comfort of the users. These buildings look at ways to guarantee good indoor air quality, bring sufficient fresh air inside, and control the source of indoor air pollutants. Eco, non-toxic and renewable materials are often introduced into the built environments which do not constitute adverse environmental impacts and pollution. Appropriate measures and suitable facilities are established to deliver thermal comfort to people working inside while simultaneously saving energy costs. Across masterplan design, infrastructure, construction, and maintenance, green buildings ensure reduced the impact to the environment and neighborhood, while employees and occupants are comfortable and happy in their everyday environments and they tend to enjoy higher level of satisfaction.

We probably spend more than 80% of our time sitting and working in the artificial environments of buildings.  It is obvious to see green buildings have multiple benefits which link to our wellbeing, and they deliver a better indoor environment that can positively impact employee performance. Green buildings are about our health as much as they are about the environment.