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FMI Quarterly/March 2020/March 3, 2020

Health and Wellness: The Next Disruption in Sustainable Building Design

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Every year we see increasing attention paid to sustainable building design—and with good reason. Defined as something that has staying power, sustainability has become a popular buzzword across all industries. The E&C industry continues to play a central role as this trend gains momentum due to economic, environmental and consumer influences.

As we pointed out in our article, sustainability continues to become the “new normal.” Building stakeholders are increasingly looking beyond basic green certifications and striving for an improved Built Environment that prioritizes the human experience.

The rise of wellness in design is, in part, due to increasingly vocal discussions on macro issues like climate change. The Built Environment is a major contributor to the climate change problem, so designers, building owners and tenants all understandably want to be part of the solution. Consumer demand is another catalyst for growth in wellness standards. Employees are prioritizing the health of their working environment, and are choosing to work for companies that share those same priorities.

Good, old-fashioned capitalism is also a powerful force behind the growing adoption of wellness standards. Healthier building environments tend to be more energy-efficient—and more cost-effective. Healthier work environments are a competitive advantage in attracting talent. A healthier workforce benefits a company’s operating profit. And companies will admit that, even with the most altruistic intentions, becoming known for promoting a healthy environment makes for great PR.

Wellness certification remains a relatively small subset of the overall sustainability market, but it has continued to expand in the two years since we wrote this article. As basic LEED certification becomes “table stakes,” savvy and aware developers, owners, employers and employees want to take the sustainability of the Built Environment to the next level. Wellness standards are a key piece of this evolution in sustainable design. Those design, engineering and construction firms best equipped to meet this market demand for health and wellness standards in sustainable design stand to benefit greatly from this evolution.

This article was originally published December, 2017.

 

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