physiological, mental, and social performance in its natural or ‘evolutionary’ environment.” Boyden suggests that a healthy environment should provide occupants with the opportunity to engage in spontaneous social encounters; the opportunity for relaxation and psychological restoration; the opportunity for privacy and for movement between interaction and solitude, as desired; the opportunity for learning and information sharing; the opportunity for connection to the natural environment; sound levels not much above or below that of nature; meaningful change and sensory variability; an interesting visual environment with aesthetic integrity; a sense of social equity and respect; and the ability to maintain and control personal comfort. People intuitively understand these needs, and yet too many commercial office spaces are not meeting the needs of the people. Cost is often cited as the main issue, yet simple and relatively cheap investment in areas such as lighting has been shown to improve productivity by up to 23%. These attributes are understood by advocates and practitioners of green buildings and we are fortunate in New Zealand that we have some fantastic examples of buildings built with occupants in mind. Indoor environmental quality, and the interplay between the use of space and attributes such as natural lighting, thermal comfort, acoustics and ergonomics, have been shown to have a significant impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of occupants. This results in lower absenteeism and reduced staff turnover. Wellington’s Meridian Building was the first certified Green Star building in New Zealand and was designed with the people in mind. A post occupancy study showed that staff productivity had improved by 9%. Since then more than 100 Below:The ASB North Wharf building at Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, designed by BVN/ Jasmax, has created a highly sustainable, people-focused workplace. Below right:Floorboards in the café on Level 3 of ASB North Wharf are interspersed with black rubber strips to resemble ship decking. The spotted gum was supplied and installed by Hardwood Technology.