Returning to the office: how the pandemic changes the need for indoor air quality, healthy buildings, technology, and data in commercial real estate.
11 mind-boggling healthy buildings stats for 2022 & beyond
Come explore these 11 eye-opening stats about healthy buildings in 2022 and beyond to see how healthy buildings affect commercial real estate today.
Yes, we did just say mind-boggling. Before we talk about healthy building statistics, we should be clear about what a healthy building is, and the difference between healthy and green buildings.
- Green buildings (also known as green construction or sustainable building) apply to both a framework and the utilization of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from organizing to design, development, usage, maintenance, retrofitting, and dismantling.
- A healthy building is the successor of a green building. Where a green building only covers the environmentally responsible and resource-efficient building elements, a healthy building also adds human well-being and performance.
- Green-certified buildings are buildings that are certified on their leadership in energy and environmental design by external organizations to ensure the credibility of sustainability efforts. Some well-known certification institutes are LEED®, BREEAM®, NABERS® and those with a stronger focus on health and well-being are FitWel® and IWBI WELL®.
- High-performing buildings are buildings that surpassed ASHRAE® Standard 62.1–2010 minimum sufficient person ventilation (15 cfm) requirement and with little (<250 μg/m3) total volatile organic compound concentrations.
According to researchers Allen and Bernstein of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building include: ventilation, air quality, thermal health, moisture, dust and pests, safety and security, water quality, noise, and lighting and views.
So now that we have explained the definitions, the following question pops up…
Why are healthy buildings popular in 2022?
Healthy buildings are becoming the new standard in construction and renovation projects. They have been growing steadily over the last few years but did not gain the same traction as since the return to office debate began last year.
Accelerated by the pandemic and the growing change in the way we work, people became more aware of the impact of a building on their health. This led to new expectations in the return to the office. So real estate investors look at ways to improve returns in an office market that’s globally under pressure. Likewise, property managers have to focus on improving the tenant’s experience to avoid that their tenants leaving and consequentially risk that their buildings become obsolete.
These are the top 10 healthy building benefits for property managers and owners. Are you ready?
- 74% of owners and architects believe that green/healthy buildings are more valuable assets than regular buildings, according to the Canadian Green Building Council (CAGBC). This means that investing in the health of tenants will improve the long-term asset value of real estate moving onwards.
People enjoy working more in a healthy, sustainable building. This study discovered that occupancy levels of green-certified buildings are approximately 10–18% higher! Creating a healthy building for your tenants will lead to a very enjoyable, engaging workplace, an increase in health and well-being, and better company performance. Thus, tenants favor them and want to work in these healthy spaces. Not so strange that they sustain higher occupancy, right?
You can fill in the Social aspects within the ESG strategy. According to FT, one explanation for this trend which is present in other metropolis too is that big corporates want to rent sustainable buildings to lower their carbon emissions (e1) scope and will pay the premium. 60% of companies see the ability of green buildings to stimulate greater health and well-being in building occupants as the primary social reason to invest in green, reports CAGBC. Building occupant health and well-being are decisive factors that affected the growth of the green building market.
92% of occupiers have some preference for wellness enabled/capable buildings. Nearly half show that they either have a clear preference for wellness provision in their building choice or that it dominates their decision, according to CBRE GWS.
In London, the rental premia go between 3%-13% depending on rating for leading Central London office buildings on BREEAM or NABERS compared to similar unrated buildings. The reason is that the most ESG-driven tenants will pay a rental premium for an office that matches their mentality. In Amsterdam, sustainable certified buildings have a 26% higher rental value than non-certified buildings.
4.4–7.7% is the average rental increase per square foot for WELL or FitWel certified healthy buildings across 10 major American cities, according to a comprehensive study by MIT’s Real Estate Innovation Lab using public data. The willingness to pay for a better experience is present amongst tenants.
High scoring building on green building certifications such as LEED, BREEAM let to sales premia of 8–18%. These buildings become more in demand with increasing regulation on energy, net zero targets, and tightening emission scopes for both the landlord (e3) and the tenant (e1).
Healthy buildings touch a lot of points such as indoor air quality, thermal comfort, daylight, biophilic design, and many more. This BentallGreenOak survey found that 74% of respondents find that tracking data is a key priority for integrating healthy buildings into ESG strategy.
Reducing operational costs. Green and healthy buildings have a median level of operating cost savings of 16%. These reductions come from energy savings, water savings, and HVAC savings, according to CAGBC. The Net Present Value over a 10-year value is in utilities savings ($97/m2), and maintenance savings ($28/m2) according to researchers from stock, LLC.
At the end of the list, it comes as little surprise that 87% of tenants want a healthy office building and 47% of retailers too. This study from Fitwel implies that experience matters in tenant retention in not only offices but also retail.
Bonus stat! Sick building symptoms drop by 30% in high-performing healthy buildings. People working in these buildings have fewer complaints about thermal comfort, air movement, air dryness or humidity, and chemicals in the air such as tobacco, odors, and other smells that can lead to discomfort, say Harvard researchers. Your tenants will feel much more comfortable, which results in fewer tickets regarding climate and tenant experience.
To sum it all up:
Creating a healthy building is essential to your business’ success, whether you are a real estate investor or a company renting a space.
- A healthy building improves direct asset value to the building owner because the buildings have higher rental value, occupancy, and sales value.
- If your building isn’t taking any healthy building elements into account, it’s probably time for a retrofit.
So was "mind-boggling" a fair word to use? For those of you looking to get started with healthy workspaces, come explore our healthy building services to optimize air quality, thermal comfort, light, and acoustics in your building. Add value to your business today.
Looking to stay up to date with new insights and commercial real estate strategies in the changing tenant landscape? Then sign up to be the first to receive our monthly updates and come follow us on LinkedIn.