The environment that surrounds us impacts our health, this is a fair statement and most would concur. The offices that we work in need to be as healthy as possible due to the amount of time that we spend indoors. Consulting firm Arup, at 60 State Street, has worked very hard to provide a healthy work environment for staff and clients.
Arup installed motorized sit-to-stand desks, showers to accommodate people running or biking to work, quiet zones and collaboration areas to encourage movement and minimize distractions, and a filter to reduce the amount of chlorine in the drinking water. The cleaning routine has also been intensified, with light switches and door handles wiped down regularly.
“We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, yet we spend almost all of our time thinking about outdoor air pollution,” said Joseph Allen, director of the three-year-old Healthy Buildings program at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, which has studied the benefits of keeping employees in top form. “What we’re doing here is quantifying what people intuitively know. When you’re stuck in a conference room that’s too hot, there’s no ventilation, you don’t perform as well.”
When considering your new office building studies show that a “green” building leads to workers scoring higher cognitively. The Massachusetts RMV building is Roxbury closed by the Weld administration due to “sick building syndrome” and had to relocate 600 workers.
Workers in certified “green” buildings score 26.4 percent higher on cognitive function tests, when compared with workers at the same companies who happen to work in a non-certified building, according to a new study out from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
The green-building workers also had sleep scores that were 6.4 percent higher than their coworkers in non-green buildings. The study controlled for job category, education and salary.
The City of Somerville might be onto something here; it is efforting to become carbon neutral by 2050. If all things are equal or at least close to equal, I believe local small-to-mid-sized companies would embrace the green initiative. The challenge only really exists when being green adds measurable cost to the companies monthly overhead.
“‘Sustainability and taking care of the environment is a deeply held conviction of the community,’ said Daniel DeMaina, media manager for the city of Somerville, in an interview…The city will release a form called a Request for Information, for companies to propose their green-tech ideas at an event on Oct. 21. Companies have until Dec. 1 to submit their plans.”
888 Boylston Street will offer the newest office space in Back Bay in 10 years. This building will have a strong green initiative that will incorporate onsite solar and wind power generation. Additionally, “those working in this mid-rise will have enough natural light 60% of the time to forgo artificial lighting thanks to 14-foot ceilings and other technology. It will use 37% less potable water and 45% less energy than a traditional office. Bryan…who has a long time commitment to sustainability, says in addition to solar-energy generated on-site, this will be Boston’s first commercial office tower to use wind turbine energy,” Bisnow reports.
The Town of Brookline has now hired a new solar developer to install new rooftop solar array’s on multiple buildings throughout the area adding to a trend that is becoming increasingly common among buildings in nearby markets. Needham and Newton office buildings are following suit as newly constructed buildings and properties under renovation are adding solar arrays to their composition. Be on the look out!
According to a Wicked Local post, “the town submitted a number of new buildings to Blue Wave for solar consideration…Once installed, Brookline would enter into a “power purchase agreement” with Blue Wave in which the town would set guidelines for buying power generated by the solar panels. The town would not, however, spend any money for the installation of the panels, and will not own the panels once installed.”