Buro Happold engineering takes the lead in health and productivity in buildings

A White Paper “Health and Productivity in Sustainable Buildings” has been launched in Warsaw.

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The document aims to encourage companies to explore the real influence buildings have on employees that work in them by introducing a global methodology that Polish businesses can use. The project is supported by the Polish Ministry of Economy, the World Green Building Council (WGBC) and the Polish Green Building Council.

The paper is specifically aimed at investors, business leaders, tenants and real estate agents and includes crucial information concerning the influence of sustainable buildings on the health and efficiency of employees. It looks at the benefits of implementing green solutions, such as a decrease in absenteeism and staff turnover which, in turn, lead to an increase in efficiency. In the long term, these factors can have a significant impact on a company’s financial results. The paper ends with a list of significant engineering considerations that tenants and investors should focus on when designing office space. Among them are factors such as thermal comfort, noise, acoustics and a building’s internal configuration.

BuroHappold, as the project leader within the Construction Marketing Group (http://www.cmgpoland.eu/), created a technical working party consisting of representatives from Colliers International, Philips Lighting, Halton Oy, Ecophon Saint-Gobain and Skanska Property Poland. The group comprises a range of specialists from areas as engineering, architecture, acoustics, LEED and BREEAM certification as well as HR and marketing.

“This is a ground breaking moment for the Polish market and the first time that such a large group of experts from numerous organisations has been engaged in verifying a global methodology regarding the influence buildings have on their users. Members of the technical committee analysed and defined the issue, underlining the fact that there is a global solution that can be successfully applied to the Polish market,” says Ian Booth, partner at Buro Happold.

The concept of sustainable buildings is based on designing, developing and using buildings that focus on employees’ health and that respect the natural environment. New technologies are of the utmost importance in this process. They not only help create buildings that significantly reduce pollution and waste emission but also make the buildings comfortable for employees. Research shows that factors such as correct air temperature (22-24°C), ventilation levels adjusted to needs, the correct lighting of work stations as well as the appropriate amount of fresh air per person (IAQ: Indoor Air Quality) are of crucial importance in providing optimal and favourable conditions. Sustainable buildings, also known as green buildings, meet all of these requirements.

“On average, we spend 90% of our time indoors, so interior environments have a great influence on both our health and wellbeing. Modern, sustainable offices are equipped with numerous solutions reducing negative effects, for example, by applying better ventilation systems, ensuring better access to natural daylight and creating relaxation zones. Our aim is to encourage the market to conduct integrated research that will help reflect the real influence of sustainable buildings on employees’ health and productivity”, says Katarzyna Chwalbińska-Kusek, marketing and business development manager, Buro Happold.
As part of the project, four workshop meetings were held. The technical committee based its discussions upon the Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices report published in 2014 by the WGBC, the largest global organisation engaged in green, sustainable building. The report was the first document in the world to propose a methodology for measuring the influence of office space on employees. The aim of the project conducted in Poland is to adjust the conclusions of the WGBC to the local market. The conclusions from the workshops are included in the White Paper, entitled Health and Productivity in Sustainable Buildings.

“At Buro Happold we are aware that a well designed building combines a minimal negative impact on the environment with positive impact on people’s health and well-being. We regard such buildings as sustainable buildings” concludes Ian Booth.

You can download the White Paper in English and Polish.

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