Fitter, Happier: Building Controls and their Potential to Boost Employee Health

03 Feb 10:00 by


A new report from the Green Building Council underlines the importance of green offices to employee productivity and loyalty. Effective building controls can make all the difference in delivering these healthier workspaces.

Cast your mind back 15 or 20 years ago and the standard of workspaces was – to put it politely – the subject of remarkable variation. Concepts pertaining to healthier offices and factories were still at a fairly nascent stage, and the amount of research being undertaken to illustrate the value of taking a more holistic approach was relatively minimal.

Well, what a difference a decade (or so) makes! The importance of providing workspaces that complement and work to the benefit of employees has been well-established, while the evidence continues to mount up – thanks in no small part to the regular arrival of reports such as the World Green Building Council’s newly-published ‘Building the Business Case: Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Green Offices’.

First and foremost, the report points out that staff are the most valuable resource in most organisations – typically accounting for 90% of business operating costs – so even a 1% improvement in productivity ‘can have a major impact on the bottom line and competitiveness of any business’. It then goes on to highlight eight specific factors that can lead to healthier, greener and, thus, more productive offices.

The list includes: effective indoor air quality and ventilation; a comfortable temperature range that can be controlled by staff; generous access to daylight; materials that reduce noise and provide quiet spaces to work; an attractive layout that enables active movement within offices; ample provision of different plant species; the inclusion of welcoming colours, textures and materials; and easy access to public transport, amenities and ‘healthy food choices’.

Even a 1% improvement in productivity ‘can have a major impact on the bottom line and competitiveness of any business’

Although the last few might not be within the capabilities of building management technologies (yet!), these systems can offer tremendous benefits for those business owners trying to deliver healthy and optimised workspaces. It is heartening, then, that the last decade has witnessed an emancipation of building control technology, with a far greater range of systems available at more attractive price-points to suit a broader range of clients.

With offices and end-users around the world, Priva is one of the leading lights of this fast-moving area of technology. Its building automation and management systems are designed to allow facilities managers to achieve reliability when it comes to permanent comfort and continuous maintenance – as well as the ability to ensure communication with all building-connected systems using standard protocols.

Systems including Priva Blue ID have found their way into office installations of all sizes and shapes, while the most recent addition to the ranks is the new cloud service BI Metrics. Suitable for deployment with a wide range of building management systems, BI Metrics analyses a wide variety of data in order to boost preventative maintenance and increase installation efficiency, reduce energy consumption and enhance comfort levels.

With early pilot studies indicating the possibility of annual six-figure savings for some businesses, BI Metrics is set to be a major tenet of Priva’s ongoing campaign to explain the long-term benefits of effective building controls. In-depth studies like the World Green Building Council’s new report certainly don’t hinder this case, but the sheer weight of case studies highlighted by ourselves and other vendors or integrators points to another truth: namely, that the number of companies who seek to ignore the topic of sophisticated building controls is now dwindling rapidly, and could soon be a thing of the past as the focus on productivity and staff retention becomes increasingly acute.

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