Going green is cost effective

With energy efficiency becoming the need of the hour, going green in the commercial realty segment also has benefits in terms of improving employee productivity.

As the real estate sector begins to show signs of a turnaround, it is expected that green buildings will become a major areas of focus, especially in the commercial segment. Considering that the construction and maintenance of building accounts for almost one thirds of all energy consumed, green buildings can not only mitigate environmental damage but also provide return on investment and improve working conditions for its inhabitants.

Research has shown that the productivity of employees increases, when working in a green office as compared to a regular office. A recent study conducted by the University of San Diego and CB Richard Ellis Group Inc (CBRE) has found that tenants in green buildings experience increased productivity and fewer sick days. The research found that employees in green buildings reported an average of 2.88 fewer sick days in the green office, as compared to their previous non green office. In addition around 55 per cent of the respondents indicated that employee productivity had improved. Based on the average tenant salary, an office space of 250 sq ft worker and 250 working days in a year, the decrease in sick days translated into a net impact of nearly dollars per sq ft occupied and in the increase in productivity translated into a net impact of about $ 20 per sq ft occupied.

In India too, developers have woken up to the potential that exists in the green building sector. India, today, has the second largest stock of rated green buildings in the world, second only to the US. One such example is Xylem an IT park developed by Tata which was obtained the Gold LEED certification. Our aim was to have a whole building approach in all key areas of human and environmental health, with natural ventilation and illumination, designed to work with the exterior environment. These advanced standards will optimize comfort and utility, which will aid in boosting productivity.

Even minor steps can go a long way in aiding conservation, besides making a work space more productive. Lights play an important role when it comes to productivity. For example take the LED lights that we install on offices toady. The light emitted from these sources is soft and thus not hurt the eyes, unlike other conventional lighting sources. As working hours get longer mall modifications like these can contribute significantly towards enhancing productivity.

The green concept should not be restricted merely to the interiors. Simple measures like planting trees in the premises will improve the quality of air around the work space, which can help reduce stress for employees. Commercial premises today are also deigned keeping in mind the movement of the sun. So, when the sun is at its brightest, between noon and 4.30 pm, the building’ design would ensure that sunlight would be all where there is minimal human movement and at the same time provide an alternate source of lighting and also save power in the bargain. Buildings are also increasingly being designed to tackle the sick buildings syndrome’ with their focus on occupants health through ergonomic design and architecture. Such designs boost employee productivity, as well as help reduce the operational cost of the building.

Ultimately green works spaces also proven to be viable, in terms of cost effectiveness. Although the initial costs may be higher green work spaces save a lot of money in the long run, with increased productivity from the employees and lower maintenance costs.