New research released by real estate services firm stok on Tuesday unearthed a hidden value of high performance buildings: happier and healthier people.
By designing office buildings for improved human health and wellness, owner-occupants can earn $3395 per employee in annual profit thanks to increased productivity, less absenteeism, and higher rates of retention.
According to the research, this can amount to $2.78 million or 6.29 per cent in combined benefits per high performance building (HPB).
Over 10 years this is a net present value of $21,172 per employee, or $10.68 per square metre.
The report’s findings – which aim to shore up the business case for healthier offices – were calculated by applying financial impact calculations to over 60 robust research studies on the effect of HPBs in three areas: productivity, retention, and wellness.
Sick days are estimated to be reduced by 30 per cent in healthy buildings, with 50 per cent the most optimistic estimate, and 10 per cent the most conservative estimate.
The chance of someone leaving the company drops by somewhere between one and 10 per cent in a healthy building, and productivity goes up by as much as nine per cent.
Features of healthy buildings that people benefit from include views of nature, biophilic design, thermal comfort and air quality, maximised natural light and reduced glare, and fewer distractions.
“We’ve seen this shift in the drivers of business value over the last 40 years. In the 70s, the US was driven by capital investment and manufacturing,” stok stated.
“Today, the foundation of the US economy is services which are driven by intellectual capital rather than tangible assets. If more than 80 per cent of a company’s value is based on its people, shouldn’t buildings be designed to optimise their performance and wellness?”
The findings mark a shift in thinking around HPBs, which are traditionally upheld for their energy saving benefits and increased asset values.