Selling green buildings with people power

Green buildings are the future in architecture. As we move towards a future where natural resources become scarcer, it starts hitting where it hurts the most…ie the pocketbook. But going “green” dosent come cheap. There is a certain percentage of additional cost that needs to be doled out upfront. Many developers and clients are wary of shelling out that kind of moolah, especially in multi-million dollar projects running into the hundreds of millions.

However, recent research shows that going “green” has more and more advantages and the users of these buildings are demanding more and more in terms of what their workplaces and residences offer to improve their quality of life, and also better the planet in many ways.

A recent article in addresses this issue at large.

“The choice of building design can lead to boosted worker productivity and even higher test scores in children, according to building technology experts.

In studies, so-called green or high-performance buildings have shown to have positive effects on people, compared to traditional buildings, all while saving money on energy, according to experts who spoke on a panel at the Clean Tech Venture Forum conference on Wednesday.”

One Bryant Park, the project I am working on here at Cook+Fox, is featured in the article. We as a design team along with the client’s the Durst Organisation and Bank of America made a conscientious decision to

“incorporate environmental technologies to promote the health and productivity of tenants, reduce waste and assure environmental sustainability”

Productivity of workers is a very big economic factor in convincing CFO’s of big companies to invest in these technologies

“Better health of building occupants, among other benefits, is prompting more designers from all industries and government agencies to construct green buildings”

It is not always easy to convince a client to just pony up 60 million $ more on a construction budget of 600 million $, so that the client can have a “green” building.

“Green or energy-efficient buildings dovetail with the notion of sustainable business, where corporations seek to minimize the environmental impact of doing business. But some designers and architects are using a purely economic argument to justify the higher building costs of green buildings, namely office worker productivity.”

Calculating the productivity savings are becoming part of study models that evaluate the actual benifits of incorporating green technology.

“Carnegie Mellon University has created a cost benefit tool called Building Investment Decision Support (BIDS), which provides a method for measuring costs, including productivity. Consulting company Heschong Mahone Group has done studies of the impact of daylight and ventilation on worker productivity and student performance.”

Read the entire article here. Related posts on this issue can be found here and here.