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Green Buildings Increasing Productivity at Work Place

Tenants in green buildings experience increased productivity and fewer sick days, says a survey. According to the study conducted by the University of San Diego and commercial real estate broker CB Richard Ellis Group, Green buildings have lower vacancy rates and higher rents than non-green counterparts, reports Chris Palmeri of Business Week.

Respondents of the survey said that an average of 2.88 fewer sick days in their current green office versus their previous non-green office. About 55 per cent of respondents indicated that employee productivity had improved. The study also found that tenants in green buildings such as the Behnisch Architekten-designed Unilever offices in Hamburg above are more productive based on two measures – the average number of tenant sick days and a productivity change.

The increase in productivity translated into a net impact of about $20 per square foot. The study also showed that green buildings have 3.5 per cent lower vacancy rates and 13 per cent higher rental rates than the market. Based on the average tenant salary, an office space of 250 square feet per worker and 250 workdays a year, the decrease in sick days translated into a net impact of nearly $5.00 per square foot per year.

The economic impact of the total green construction market from 2000 to 2008, the study found, was $178 billion. It created or saved 2.4 million jobs and generated $123 billion in wages. Another report out in the past week concluded that constructing new green buildings or retrofitting existing structures with energy efficient air conditioning, solar panels and the like will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and pump $554 billion into the American economy over the next four years. The study, by the U.S. Green Building Council and Booz Allen Hamilton, determined that green construction spending currently supports more than 2 million American jobs and generates more than $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages.

The U.S. Green Building Council certifies LEED buildings and has an interest in the movement, but Rick Fedrizzi, Chief Executive of the group said, “Our goal is for the phrase ‘green building’ to become obsolete, by making all building and retrofits green – and transforming every job in our industry into a green job.”

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