The ability to make a difference within the built environment is actually huge. Buildings are directly responsible for 40% of energy use in Ireland, and an estimated 1.5 million homes in Ireland need retrofitting. Apart from ‘doing the right thing’, there are now very compelling financial reasons to want to ‘Go Green’.
The benefits of “greener buildings” are obvious to us all if we actually think about it. Study after study has shown that greener buildings are better for our health, and increase our performance at work. They say that 90% of our lives are spent indoors, and so the quality of our homes and workplaces has an obvious lasting impact on our health.
The concept of ‘WELL’ buildings are part of the second ‘wave’ of sustainability - part of the health and wellbeing initiative. Health and Wellbeing has been described as the next 'trillion dollar industry' by Mckinsey. Research on health and wellbeing has been increasing over the last few years and has given rise to the WELL Building Standard - launched in 2013 in the US and 2015 in the UK. With positive impacts on asset values in real estate, shopping revenues in retail, patient recovery in healthcare and student performance in education, designing for health and wellbeing is becoming more and more important. Astonishingly, 90% of a typical companies costs are actually on their staffs salaries, with only about 1% typically spent on energy.
The work of the World Green Building Council has produced several report that outline the benefits of ‘green’ buildings to increase staff performance by 8% and reduce absenteeism by 35%. They also found that office workers with windows at their desks typically sleep for 46 mins more a night than those who don’t!