Health, wellbeing and productivity in retail: The impact of green buildings on people and profit
This report is an output of WorldGBC’s Better Places for People campaign. It is the result of a task group process that has been led by the UK Green Building Council, drawing on leadership from member companies in the UK and on international leadership from a global retail group. The input and support of several other Green Building Councils has also been invaluable.
The construction and operation of buildings has a huge impact on resource use and the natural world, and therefore, green building represents a great opportunity to positively address environmental challenges such as climate change.
However, buildings are fundamentally for people. They should enhance our quality of life, whether at home or at work, or engaged in other activities – including leisure and retail. In fact, we would argue that a building is not truly “green” if it does not work for people.
One of the reasons that buildings are so intrinsically linked to our quality of life is the impact they have on our health and wellbeing, which in turn can influence our productivity in a commercial or work setting.
This is a topic which has well and truly risen up the agenda for the construction and real estate sector in recent years and might be seen as part of a welcome trend to put “the user” back at the heart of building design and operation. However, there is more to it than this.
Having reviewed extensive and robust evidence, the WorldGBC has demonstrated that low carbon, resource efficient and environmentally sensitive buildings can actually enhance the health, wellbeing and productivity of building users. That is a very strong element of the business case for green buildings.
This was the subject of our high profile 2014 report Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Buildings, which received extraordinarily positive feedback. It presented the “overwhelming evidence” on the link between building design and user experience, and also proposed ways for organisations to measure the impact of their own building on their own staff.
In many ways, this report on the retail sector can be read as a complementary piece of work, which takes some of the key findings and proposals, and translates them into a retail context. That is how we would recommend the reader engage with it. However, for those not familiar with the offices work, it should also be possible to read this as a stand-alone document.