When we think about green buildings, we are often interested in aspects like energy consumption and efficient energy usage to minimize the environmental impact.
While these are critical elements, we often overlook how green buildings also impact the health, wellbeing and productivity of their occupants.
If your workplace is in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, you will probably notice very poor management of air conditioned facilities with employees wearing a sweater of being sick.
While air conditioners cannot account for the lower humidity aspect of the cold-causing viruses, as the New York Times reports, air conditioners can dehydrate the mucous membranes of the nostrils, which could make the nose a more attractive environment for viral reproduction. So perhaps blasting your air conditioner can make your body somewhat more susceptible to infection.
Employees spend a majority of their workday indoors, and providing a healthy work environment is becoming a key concern of companies.
Staffing costs make up around 90% of operating costs, so a small investment in a better work environment could lead to happier, more productive employees.
In fact, a green building that is conducive to a positive occupant experience incorporates:
- Good design (natural ventilation, daylight)
- Good construction (smart control systems, innovative technologies)
- Good behavior (adaptability and engagement with building systems)
- Good location (accessibility to services and amenities)
In line with JLL’s Human Experience model, which is about putting humans at the center of the workplace, the user experience is enhanced through the three pillars of engagement, empowerment and fulfillment.
We find that sustainable and biophilic design is one way to provide a sense of comfort in the work environment. For example, the provision of adjustable, desk-mounted, personalized air supply devices could improve employee health, resulting in increased motivation and better work performance.
Figure: Human Experience Model
Singapore is starting to take this issue seriously. A study conducted jointly by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and National University of Singapore (NUS) from January 2014 over a period of three and a half years on indoor air quality showed that Green Mark certified buildings had lower bacteria and pollutants in the air.
This study also found that occupants in Green Mark certified buildings were less likely than those in non-certified buildings to experience “sick building syndrome” – when occupants feel unwell after staying inside a building for a period of time. This reduces absenteeism, staff turnover rate and medical costs.
The results of this study urged the authority in Singapore to adopt changes in policy. BCA recently announced several new initiatives under the Green Building Masterplan, including more stringent requirements for building owners to improve their indoor air quality and to adopt “smart” control systems to operate their buildings.
For example, building owners are encouraged to monitor and minimize indoor air pollutants through the use of high-efficiency filters in air distribution systems and sensors.
Looking forward, BCA will be adopting a more holistic view of green buildings: they have announced plans to work together with the Health Promotion Board to roll out a new Green Mark scheme in mid-2018 that aims to improve the health of occupants through office interior and wellness programmes.
Bangkok falls 19 places to 49th most expensive location worldwide
Locations reliant on international tourism have seen their rental markets hit especially hard during the pandemic, resulting in some major drops in the rankings. Bangkok has fallen 19 places to 49th, while Hanoi saw a similar drop of 12 places to 81st.
Is There a Silver lining amid COVID-19?
Thinking of the future impact of this pandemic on office buildings, it may have already dawned on many of us that a majority of potential long-term trends and health measures will become permanent work-life features in the times to come.
The time is ripe to embrace Industry 4.0
Traditional brick-and-mortar retail has suffered tremendously, as countries have been implementing effective stay-at-home and social distancing policies to mitigate virus spread, while those worst hit have enacted strict draconian lockdowns
We have entered a time where, seemingly, interconnectedness is the new enemy, staying in is the new going out, and antisocial is the new social. COVID-19 has brought us on the cusp of growing accustomed to new norms and sounded a wake-up call in terms of how we live.
Subscribe via Email
Sluggish vaccine campaign threatens Thailand’s economic recovery
The latest baseline scenario issued by the bank of Thailand predicts a GDP growth of 2%, assuming that vaccine procurement...
COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Outs in ASEAN Live Updates by Country
Thailand is currently expecting vaccines to be delivered in mid-2021. The doses would cover 13 million people in a population...
Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Drops to Record Low in April
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTTC) estimated an economic loss of 400-600 billion baht if the outbreak...
Thailand Q1 Investment Applications Soar 80% as FDI More Than Double says BOI
The top three source countries of FDI applications during the first quarter were South Korea, China, and Singapore, with similar...
The Combination of Good Graphics and Gameplay is Needed for Success in Gaming
If you compare a game from 20 years ago to now, the change is incredible. You probably wouldn’t want to...
Finance Ministry Reduces 2021 Growth Forecast to 2.3%
Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) Director-General Kulaya Tantitemit said the ministry slashed its forecast for the number of foreign tourists to...