The productivity paradox in green buildings

Byrd, Hugh and Rasheed, Eziaku Onyeizu (2016) The productivity paradox in green buildings. Sustainability, 8 (4). pp. 347-12. ISSN 2071-1050

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In this paper we challenge the notion that “green” buildings can achieve greater productivity
than buildings that are not accredited as “green”. For nearly two decades, research has produced
apparent evidence which indicates that the design of a “green” building can enhance the productivity
of its occupants. This relationship between building design and productivity is claimed to be achieved
through compliance with internal environmental quality (IEQ) criteria of Green rating tools. This
paper reviews methods of measuring productivity and the appropriateness of the metrics used for
measuring IEQ in office environments. This review is supported by the results of a survey of office
building users which identifies social factors to be significantly more important than environmental
factors in trying to correlate productivity and IEQ. It also presents the findings of observations that
were discretely carried out on user-response in green buildings. These findings demonstrate that,
despite a building’s compliance with IEQ criteria, occupants still resort to exceptional measures to
alter their working environment in a bid to achieve comfort. The work has been carried out on “green”
buildings in New Zealand. These buildings are rated based on the NZ “Green Star” system which
has adopted the Australian “green star” system with its roots in BREEAM. Despite this, the results of
this research are applicable to many other “green” rating systems. The paper concludes that methods
of measuring productivity are flawed, that IEQ criteria for building design is unrepresentative of
how occupants perceive the environment and that this can lead to an architecture that has few of the
inherent characteristics of good environmental design.

Keywords:productivity, green buildings, post occupancy evaluation, internal environmental quality, JCOpen
Subjects:L Social studies > L391 Sociology of Science and Technology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:23142
Deposited On:16 May 2016 08:13

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