As more people return to the workplace post-pandemic, this means more time is spent in buildings with potentially unhealthy indoor air. It’s a health concern when working in the modern workplace. Open floor plans, conference rooms, and shared office spaces create a level of risk. However, if facilities managers work to create sustainable indoor conditions this leads to healthier employees. So the thinking goes anyway, but when companies devote millions of dollars to sustainability concepts in design and construction, in the end, are green buildings healthy? It depends on a few factors and LEED certification is one of them.
What is a Healthy Green Building?
A green building reduces the negative impacts on the environment. This includes the use of sustainable materials in construction, reducing energy costs, using fewer natural resources, and generating less pollution as a result. If the goal of a green building is to create a positive impact on the environment, that should include the people that inhabit that environment. This makes the health and safety of building occupants key considerations in any green building effort. In other words, wellness is a part of sustainability, and creating a LEED-certified building is a huge step toward this goal. Business owners and facilities managers need to understand this.
The Benefits of Being Green
Let’s look at the benefits of creating healthy, LEED-certified green buildings.
Lower Operating Costs
The economic benefits of green buildings include lower operating costs. In fact, green buildings see as much as a 14 percent decrease in operating costs over five years. Furthermore, when owners invest time and money in their HVAC systems to create healthier indoor air quality, this leads to a more efficient ventilation system that requires fewer maintenance calls and longer-lasting equipment.
Healthier and Happier Workers
A stronger bottom line is an obvious incentive for building and business owners, however, the benefits to building occupants are also apparent. Healthy workers have higher morale. They miss fewer work days and are more productive too. Employees prefer green buildings for mental health benefits as well. For example, more natural sunlight increases well-being.
The environmental benefits of healthy green buildings include a reduction in carbon emissions. For example, LEED-certified buildings produce 34 percent lower carbon emissions while using a quarter of the amount of energy. They also use less water and keep tons of waste from entering landfills.
Pure Air Controls Solutions for Healthy Green Buildings
For our part, Pure Air Controls solutions provides services to improve HVAC systems for healthy green buildings. We do this through a combination of services that include inspection and testing with our Building Health Check program as well as monitoring with IAQ Guard 2.0.
Building Health Check
The Building Health Check screens for allergens and dust as well as mold. It also includes contaminant assessments, temperature and humidity logging, wall and floor moisture testing, and more. This service includes an HVAC Hygiene Assessment as well. The assessment determines the impact of the HVAC system on IAQ. At the end of the evaluation, a detailed report gives facilities managers the information needed to make improvements.
IAQ Guard 2.0
Smart monitoring is another important tool for maintaining healthy green buildings. Our IAQ Guard 2.0 remote monitoring system uses an array of monitors placed throughout the building to provide data to a remote team at our Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory. This includes readings of environmental factors such as:
- Temperature and relative humidity
- Total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs)
- Particulate matter
- CO2 and other gases
An all-in-one outlet-powered module also gives facilities managers the information they need to react fast and prevent conditions that cause microbial growth. The smart capabilities of IAQ Guard 2.0 allow for configuration and control through a phone-based app. The monitors connect through WIFI to create a smart, effective system that makes facilities managers aware of any changes to indoor environmental conditions.
Another step in creating healthy IAQ is the use of air cleaning technology. Commercial-grade air purifiers provide clean, fresh air in conference rooms, doctor’s offices, classrooms, and waiting areas. When used with smart monitoring, the result is improved IAQ and healthier indoor conditions.
Learn More About Creating Healthy Green Buildings
So much of our future depends on what we do right now. Creating LEED-certified healthy green buildings is a way to create happier healthier employees while reducing costs. Start improving the efficiency of your building today by focusing on ventilation. Pure Air Control Services is an IAQ firm with decades of experience in helping businesses, schools, and government agencies improve IAQ. Call us at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.