Green office spaces increase productivity and save money

(NC) Many Canadian business owners and managers have embraced green initiatives as part of sound corporate social responsibility planning. And while encouraging employees to ride bikes to work, switch computers off at night, and stop using plastic water bottles are all steps in the right direction - there are many other ways to go green that will also improve your bottom line.

According to a 2013 NRC study, greener office spaces have proven to increase productivity through less sick days and generally happier employees. Better temperature regulation and indoor air quality, more access to daylight and fewer disturbances from HVAC noise result in better sleep quality and fewer physical or mental symptoms associated with office work.

In addition, green buildings have proven to result in significant savings in energy and water consumption each year. Why is this? Green buildings that are built or retrofitted to meet higher green standards encourage simple changes that can lead to big savings. Here are some tactics owners or managers can use to reap the green benefits:

• Consider moving into a green office space or retrofitting your workplace to a green standard like LEED.

• Lighting is a big facet of any office setting, and making small changes, like adjusting controls to shut down in off hours and reorganizing employee space to make the best possible use of natural daylight, can save you significant amounts on energy use each year.

• Improving HVAC and other building systems controls, adding more efficient boilers, air tightness improvements, variable speed pumps and external shading can lead to big savings.

• Updating plumbing to more efficient fixtures and fittings will pay for itself in the amount of water that is saved each year.

You can learn more about retrofitting your offices to be greener on the LEED Canada website at www.cagbc.org/leedcanada.

Sources: Do Green Buildings Outperform Conventional Buildings?, Birt, Newsham et al., NRC RR-329, 2013

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.