Green Buildings Lead to Better Labor Outcomes

March 31, 2019
Green Buildings Lead to Better Labor Outcomes

People spend 90% of their time in buildings.  A recent study showed that high-performance buildings, also known as Green buildings, or those which meet LEED standards, can increase worker productivity by 3%, employee retention by 5%, and decrease absenteeism by 30%.

Since over half of commercial real estate is leased, landlords who choose to implement Green standards help their tenants net labor force gains.  Creating a lease contract that encourages both the landlord and the tenant to embrace Green buildings is one way to create positive labor outcomes.

Video Spotlight: Green Offices and Employee Productivity

This post is based on the Facilities Net, How Green Leases Help Achieve Green Buildings by Chris Brown, March 4, 2019, and the YouTube video, Green Offices and Employee Productivity, by JLL, November 3, 2014. Image source: Shutterstock / zlikovec

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the possible factors a Green building possesses that lead to increased labor productivity and decreased turnover?

Guidance: This straightforward question can stimulate discussion about worker productivity and the components of a Green building.  Ask students to describe a LEED certified building which they have visited.  If they have not been in a LEED facility, have the students perform an internet search for “The Proximity Hotel” in Greensboro, NC.

Students should describe environmental aspects of a LEED facility that would increase their productivity, such as feeling more energized.  Some students may not think the building itself has anything to do with the increased productivity cited in the study.  Differing opinions can lead to a thoughtful debate and a richer understanding of factors such as employee motivations and organizational cultures.  For example, does a healthier organizational culture exists in a LEED facility? Have students do an internet search to find “best” companies to work for and see how many use LEED facilities.

2. Technology embedded in the facility can be a productivity multiplier. What sorts of technologies can you envision as part of an office building of the future?  What sort of modern high-performance office building would you like to work in?

Guidance: Students should consider their experiences in modern office buildings.  Ask students to do a web search on office building space to rent in Vancouver, British Columbia.  (There are several Green buildings in the city.)  What do students find in the current Green office buildings regarding technology?  How can technology be added to those current buildings?  These questions may help students consider the role of technology in high performance buildings.  A final discussion topic is whether they’re interested in working in a high-performance building in the future.


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