African Design Magazine April 2016 - Page 69

Feature Green Buildings The financial impact of improved staff health is also now being monitored in real conditions, as has been shown in such recent Australian case studies as: Trevor Pearcey House, Australian Ethical Investments in Canberra: 6-Star Green Star certification with annual energy savings of about $20 000; and a 6.2% improvement in perceived productivity equivalent to $300 000 in salary costs. 500 Collins Street, Bovis Lend Lease in Melbourne: 5-Star Green Star certification with a reported fall in sick leave of 39%; and 10-20% reductions in headaches, colds and flu, fatigue and concentration difficulty. In South Africa, health is rapidly becoming a priority for industry leaders. The new Google Head Office in Bryanston, Johannesburg recently won the International Green Interior Award 2015, and is targeting a 5-Star Green Star SA Interiors v1 and a LEED Gold for Commercial Interiors v2009. In line with the organisation’s drive to create a healthy and productive work environment, all materials on the project were required to conform to the company’s Healthy Materials Program – which takes into consideration public references such as the Living Building Challenge Red List, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chemicals of Concern List, and established VOC (volatile organic compound) limits. Through a rigorous process of assigning scores based on material health and transparency, this initiative allows design professionals to make informed choices about which products to specify. Better Places and the WELL Standard Recent initiatives such as the WELL Standard and the World Green Building Council’s Better Places for People programme are beginning to play a more important role in the design of buildings for developers who wish to benefit from higher staff productivity, lower operational costs and improved ROI. Reinink explains, “The WELL Standard is the world’s first building standard that focusses solely on human health and wellness. The standard was developed over seven years in collaboration with scientists, doctors and architects. It addresses seven categories relevant to health in buildings, namely Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. It is a performance based certification system, meaning that the building has to be in operation for at least a year to be able to justify the initiatives.” Click here to read more 69