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Healthier buildings drive bottom line: report

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Business benefits are driving investments in healthier buildings, according to a recent report from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and Dodge Data & Analytics.

Healthier Buildings in Canada 2016: Transforming Building Design and Construction examined factors influencing Canada’s building owners, architects, designers, contractors and public health professionals in their decisions for adopting healthier building practices and features.

About 46 per cent of the Canadian commercial building owners surveyed say they are able to lease space more quickly in buildings with healthy features. Also, more than 38 per cent of owners say the value of their buildings has increased by seven per cent due to healthier practices.

The survey also showed how occupant comfort is a matter of great concern among owners and operators. Those surveyed ranked improved tenant/employee satisfaction and happier and healthier occupants as the top two goals for having a healthy building.

“With the arrival of the more demanding LEED version 4, the building construction industry is poised to pursue even healthier, more sustainable options,” said CaGBC President and CEO Thomas Mueller. “I am pleased to see that the Healthier Buildings in Canada report confirms that Canadian owners are noticing how healthier building practices can benefit their bottom line.”

To measure uptake in the Canadian market, the study asked participants to list their most commonly-used sustainable products, materials and design approaches. The top healthy building feature was improved indoor lighting conditions and daylighting, with 80 per cent of all respondents incorporating this feature. Rounding out the top three was products that enhance thermal comfort with 77 per cent, and enhanced indoor air quality with 75 per cent.

Public health professionals were also surveyed and found to be valuable partners in promoting healthy building research across Canada. The majority listed lower healthcare costs as a top priority when considering occupant health and wellbeing during design and construction.

The report was commissioned by the CaGBC as a subset of a larger North American focused report also recently released titled, The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016: Tactical Intelligence to Transform Building Design and Construction SmartMarket Report.

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