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Survey: U.S. Owners Striving for Better-Designed, Healthier Buildings

Oct. 19, 2016
The top healthy-building features include better lighting/daylighting, products that enhance thermal and acoustical comfort, and enhanced air quality.

The design and construction of healthier buildings is a key business benefit for building owners, developers, managers, and investors, according to the results of a report recently released by Dodge Data & Analytics.

The report, “The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016: Tactical Intelligence to Transform Building Design and Construction SmartMarket Report,” shows the design and construction industry in the United States is poised for wider adoption of building practices that prioritize the physical, mental, and social well-being of tenants and occupants. The construction of healthier buildings for occupants is of interest to about two-thirds of U.S. building owners, according to the report, which also found that 79 percent believe such buildings will lead to improved employee satisfaction and engagement, as evidenced by owners’ ability to increase leasing rates (73 percent) and realize higher asset values (62 percent).

“The increased attention to building-health impacts is just beginning,” Stephen A. Jones, senior director of industry insights, Dodge Data & Analytics, said. “In a similar way several years ago, companies engaged in green construction because of the demonstrable business and financial benefits they were able to achieve. The findings of this report demonstrate that the focus on buildings that enhance the health and well-being of their occupants is likely to follow a similar trajectory, boosted by those who have committed to sustainability in their organizations.”

The survey of U.S. owners, architects, interior designers, and contractors found that 67 percent of U.S. building owners are interested in creating healthier buildings for people. Additionally, 64 percent of all respondents believe enhanced air quality will be the leading healthy feature deployed in buildings during the next five years. Interior designers and architects currently are leading the industry toward healthier building strategies. As the building industry continues to gather data on the business and financial benefits of healthier buildings, this focus and engagement is likely to increase.

The top five healthy-building features in use are:

  • Better lighting/daylighting exposure.
  • Products that enhance thermal comfort.
  • Spaces that enhance social interaction.
  • Enhanced air quality.
  • Products that enhance acoustical comfort.

Use of these features, along with further pioneering approaches, such as the use of biophilic design and the creation of spaces that enhance tenant mood and provide opportunities for physical activity, is expected to grow considerably. Although the United States is a leader in the development of healthy buildings, the move to buildings with enhanced air quality is likely to expand globally, with the World Bank reporting that premature deaths caused by air pollution cost the global economy $5 trillion annually.

To download the report, click here.