Over the last few decades, Healthy Buildings has been a topic of interest amongst governmental agencies, institutions, healthcare, and the commercial office sector. The debate on what constitutes a healthy building, and what are the benefits has been hotly contested. Why is there now more of consensus on the importance of Healthy Buildings?
CONTINUATION OF HEALTHY BUILDINGS
Benefits of Healthy Buildings Data collected from the surge of smart buildings, wellness reports, and the findings from the spread of the pandemic has made it clear of the importance of Healthy Buildings. Scientists, engineers, architects, medical professionals, business leaders, and organizations such as ASHRAE, CDC, and the EPA sifted through petabytes of data to conclude that Healthy Buildings promote wellness, productivity, and stymie the spread of pathogens.
Healthy and green buildings are not in conflict Professor Joseph G. Allen, a leader in green and healthy buildings, is the co-creator of the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building, which is featured above. Professor Allen concludes that buildings can be healthy, and green, even if that means bringing in more fresh air to the building. The higher ventilation rates of fresh air in the building promotes productivity and reduces the spread of infectious disease but increases the use of energy. However, Allen claims that healthy and green are not in conflict; maintain the building and in the long-term you can reduce energy costs.
Building maintenance is crucial What does Allen mean by taking care of the building’s asset? Buildings need regular maintenance such as changing out high quality MERV-13 filters, mechanical tune-ups, monitoring air quality and overall performance, upgrading the biophilia and acoustics, and mechanical retrofits are just some of the ways to make your building “healthier.”
Healthy Buildings command more PSF Admittedly, upfront CapEx will increase with retrofits, and OpEx may increase slightly due to the greater fresh air circulation, but Allen persuasively writes that these increase in costs of maintaining a Healthy Building are justifiable. All studies indicate that Healthy Buildings increase employee productivity, cognitive function, and amounting to a 5-10% gain in company profitability. Consequently, Healthy Buildings are commanding between 4% to 7% more $ PSF, which is one more reason to consider The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building.