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.”
Massachusetts had 136 properties spanning 24.4 million square feet achieve LEED certification last year. That represented 3.73 square feet of certified space per resident — the highest rate of any other state in the U.S….The ranking comes at a time of both significant deal-making activity in the region’s real estate capital markets industry and during one of the largest building booms in the city’s history.
“Sometimes what will happen is a broker tells an owner: ‘I can’t show this property because buyers only want LEED-certified properties,’” Lee said. “They’re using LEED as a mechanism to give their brokers a little extra ammunition in the marketplace. … LEED is a global brand, and people recognize it as a third-party accountability structure that helps all parties get their game to a better level. It’s part of what capital markets are looking for: how do you distinguish one asset from another?”
What does LEED mean? From Wikipedia:
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.
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.