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In Brief: Health and Building Efficiency

As links between health and building efficiency continue to grow stronger, wellness in the workplace has become increasingly more important to building owners.

A recent report from Dodge Data & Analytics highlighted at Buildings Magazine, entitled “The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016,” noted 79% of building owners believe healthy building will lead to improved employee satisfaction and engagement.

The report further revealed the top five healthy building features being enacted:

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

A recent article from The New York Times, entitled “Designing an Active, Healthier City” took a big picture approach to this recent trend toward health and efficiency. The article noted the method known as “active design” has received growing popularity. This sort of approach to city planning takes strategies such as increasing pedestrian access to sidewalks and biking lanes with the ultimate aim of bettering the health of residents.

Seemingly simple changes can go a long way. For example, the article quotes Joanna Frank, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Active Design: “Just six flights of stairs a day greatly reduces the risk of stroke in men, and also offsets the average annual weight gain of an American.”

All indications point to health considerations continuing to be important in the planning of new building and infrastructure projects. Our take? During this planning period, having accurate estimating data at your fingertips is a key tool when it comes to giving a project’s its greatest chance at success.