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Green Ergonomics update – where are we at now?

In 2013 we wrote about ‘green ergonomics’ with a view to how this could be of huge benefit in the rebuilding of Christchurch’s commercial area. There was advice available from the NZ Green Building Council as well as from our own Christchurch City Council with a Target Sustainability Team, (both still functioning).

Now that the focus has moved substantially to climate change in the last few years, are we actually utilising knowledge from the Green Building movement to reduce our carbon footprint when new buildings are designed?

According to the NZ Green Building Council, (a not for profit organisation established in 2006 to act as an advocate for better buildings and hence, healthier, happier people using these buildings)

A green building is one that is designed, built and operated in ways that reduce or remove any negative impact on the environment and the people using it.

Green buildings make more efficient use of resources such as energy and water, and provide healthier environments for people to live and work in. Green building practices can also reduce construction and operation costs.”

Research on green buildings indicate that they have better indoor environment quality, (measured by concentration of CO2 and level of toxins) and are designed to be pleasant for people to occupy – for example, through greenery and access to views and daylight. This has a positive impact on worker health and productivity. International studies suggest an 8 – 11% improvement in productivity as a result of better indoor environment quality (IEQ).

In September 2020 the New Zealand government announced that 138 departments will have to assess the greenhouse gas emissions from their new building projects. This shows the government is serious about the quality of their buildings, but what about other commercial buildings – what are the incentives for developers to create a safe and pleasant work environment for future occupants? An environment that will attract tenants specifically because it is one that is designed to promote health, not just to house workers and desks?

Anthony Harper building in Worchester Boulevard which is a 5 star green rated building.

If you are considering moving into a new or renovated building, consider finding out a bit more about the way it was built, what consideration was given to a sustainable approach to the building, any awards it may have won, (this doesn’t always guarantee that it’s a perfect building!), and how previous tenants have found it to work in. We so often look at the basics such as space, lighting, floor coverings, parking, when a building is so much more.

We know at WorkSpace IQ, that we are less likely to come and visit you if you and your staff are in a well designed building, but that’s fine – we’d rather have happy healthy staff too!

Randa Abbasi is a New Zealand trained Occupational Therapist and owner / operator of WorkSpace IQ. Randa has over 25 years experience in leading and managing teams in the health sector and specializes in ergonomics, wellbeing, personal and professional development and clinical supervision.

Randa can be reached at WorkSpace IQ | Home

Mobile: 021 1971 060

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