Currently, office spaces represent the most popular building typology that obtain a LEED Certification as a benchmark for sustainability and high performance. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, there are around 500 LEED offices (certified and registered) in Mexico, representing 51% of the total projects in the country.
According to the World Green Building Council, 90% of the companies’ costs are directly related to the workers; so, making investments for them will be reflected in a positive way.
Furthermore, companies that provide workspaces that combine architecture and low-environmental impact systems, not only enjoy significant savings in operation and a faster return on investment than conventional, they also become into places that maximize employees’ productivity and their sensation of calm and sense of belonging.
Following these facts, companies that occupy sustainable spaces are not the only ones with good news. Developers have reported many benefits by offering LEED-certified rental spaces like higher and faster rental rate, lower operating and maintenance costs and an increase in commercial appeal. Both parties, developers and tenants play a key role, transforming the industry towards a more responsible one with the planet.
LEED Certification, as many efficiency systems for real estate, bases its evaluation scale on efficiencies, on other words, to produce same or better outcomes using a smaller amount of resources. A facility with these characteristics maximizes its operations performance through a reduced consumption of energy, water and resources. Likewise, natural resources are carefully selected and a strong commitment to the environment is demonstrated.
The ASID team moved to new offices, which combined the LEED Certification and WELL Certification. When comparing the consumption of the new workspaces versus those registered in their old location, the company team noticed impressive differences between the outcomes of both places.
During the first 15 months of occupation of the new site, ASID reported a saving of 76 MWh in electric energy, equivalent to more than 7,600 dollars and an emission of almost 73 tons of CO2 to the environment.
Sustainable offices have a low concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds and other pollutants, as well as a ventilation high rate. These factors help to produce an increase of up to 101% in the cognitive skills of workers, such as memory, perception, observation, analysis among others.
Medibank, the largest medical insurer company in Australia, after moved to an sustainable sustainable, reported an increase of 80% in the collaboration between workers, a feeling of improvement of their health of two thirds of them and a 5% decrease in absenteeism.
The green offices seek to create a comfortable and safe environment for the worker.
- Biophilia: Sustainable offices look for a connection between nature and the occupants, including installation of natural elements in order to create high-quality natural views. Workers experiment an 7% to 12% productivity improvement in the processing times when they have this kind of amenities.
- Temperature: The regulation of interior temperature by the employees is important. It has been found that the performance of workers can decrease up to 6% if the work space is very cold or up to 4% if it is very warm.
- Noise: The materials of these workspaces have acoustic qualities that reduce noise and provide peace of mind, being able to avoid up to 66% decrease in productivity as a result of noise distractions.
After moving to an environmentally friendly building, the Saint-Gobain call center team in North America reported a 97% increase in the average weekly number of potential customers generated by sales and a 101% increase in the average amount weekly potential customers per call.
Green offices contain a wide diversity of spaces, with large rooms, silent zones and versatile desks, promoting active movement. This flexibility helps the occupant feel more in control of their activities and create a sense of belonging.
Google offices, located in Zurich, Switzerland, have various sustainable adaptations that encourage collaboration. Among these, you can find themed meeting rooms: Jungle room has more than 100 different plants. Also, coffee room is decorated with bright colors and provides free food, has billiard and table soccer allowing employees to exchange ideas while using them.
Sustainable offices are illuminated by daylight and controlled electric lighting. In fact, people with work spaces near the windows report 46 minutes of better sleep. In addition, this kind of spaces seek a harmonious integration with the city and promote access to public transport, bicycle routes and special parking.
A Dutch case study shows a reduction in absenteeism and up to 27 million euros saved as a result of a plan that promotes the use of bicycles to move to work.
Companies that include sustainability and green spaces in their operations support the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the UN, collaborating against climate change and joining efforts to avoid the increase of 2º in the temperature of the planet..
Goal 3. Good health and well-being
Goal 7. Affordable and clean energy
Goal 8. Decent work and economic growth
Goal 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 11. Sustainable cities and communities
NEXT GENERATION OF SPACES FOR A NEW GENERATION
Work methodologies are continuously being transformed due to several factors such as global thinking, easier access to the exchange of universal information and the entry of millennials as the main workforce. This generation, which combines an ideology linked to personal empowerment and a sense of positive change for their community and the planet, will become 75% of the US labor force by 2025.
Also, according to Rubbermaid, 9 out of 10 millennials consider it important to work in a company with sustainable practices and that 82% seek to help their company in the challenges of sustainability, so those companies that integrate the fight against climate change in their operations, offer balanced plans between personal and work life and encourage dynamic work spaces are preferred by millennials.
The growing number of LEED projects in our country, especially offices, demonstrate the interest of companies to create high-performance and environment-friendly spaces that maximize employees capabilities.
The first large scale project in obtaining the LEED Certification was HSBC Offices, achieving Gold level in 2007 and creating a remarkable start in the sustainable construction industry in the country. This building reduced more than 40% in energy and more than 57% in water consumption, avoiding the emission of 1,229 ton of CO2 per year
Another outstanding case of sustainable work spaces are Bioconstrucción y Energía Alternativa headquarters, the only venue in Latin America to obtain double LEED Platinum Certification in addition to the WELL Certification, becoming the region’s benchmark for sustainability.
In our country, both government agencies and high prestige companies, such as SEMARNAT, CONMEX, IOS OFFICES, Arca Continental or Vesta, have invested and currently enjoy the benefits that LEED Certification provides, contributing to the development of work spaces committed to the sustainability that transform the real estate market
Por: Enrique I. Betancourt
Comunicación & Imagen
Bioconstrucción y Energía Alternativa, SA de CV