World Green Building Trends 2018 – we analyse the status of green construction
A new study suggests that although awareness of wellness issues is improving across Europe, the nature of technological investment continues to be patchy – suggesting that the need for specialist manufacturers and consultants will remain acute.
As an overview of the current state of play in green construction, the World Green Building Trends 2018 report (1) – which was produced by Dodge Data and Analytics on behalf of the World Green Building Council (WGBC) – provides plenty of valuable insights. Pleasingly, the number and variety of eco-minded projects continues to grow across the globe, while awareness of ‘social’ factors such as wellbeing is slowly improving.
In terms of the number of green building projects being undertaken, or the market sectors earmarked for green-related growth over the next few years, the UK has no particular cause for celebration. But what is cheering is that increasing worker productivity was ranked particularly highly by UK respondents, with 50% selecting it as a primary social/environmental reason for building green – against a 42% average for Europe as a whole. Continent-wide, the improvement of occupational health and well-being resonated strongly with European respondents.
These encouraging findings are tempered by lingering perceptions around the investment levels required to deliver green buildings. Nearly three-quarters of respondents alluded to expected payback periods of between 6 and 10 years on new buildings, while the largest single share of respondents (39%) forecast payback of 3-5 years.
There is no doubt that these durations will decrease in the future as system costs continue to fall, encouraging more companies to make substantial changes to their infrastructures. But on an individual system basis it is often already possible to achieve payback periods of less than three years – the implementation of an LED-based lighting system being an obvious example. And in existing premises, the successful commissioning of one new green system will inevitably grow confidence for further investments and, in time, the strengthening of a building or company’s overall wellness capabilities.
We’ve not had enough of experts
Whilst the road to creating healthy workplaces can seem daunting to businesses of all sizes and shapes, the good news is that expert guidance has never been more plentiful. Responding to the substantial weight of research linking factors such as good and consistent lighting conditions, effective air filtration and temperature control, and the reduction of unwanted noise to employee health and productivity, an increasing number of suppliers have added specialist green consultancy capabilities to their skillsets. Consequently, it is easier than ever to acquire a system that can both deliver energy cost reductions (still the primary driver of new green projects) and complement wellness strategies.
From Content Coms’ own parish, building controls specialist Priva, lighting manufacturer Tamlite and lighting solutions company Greenlite are among the companies to have enhanced their services in this area – resulting in marked uplifts to the number of conversations in which wellness is a motivating factor. Meanwhile, for companies wishing to implement comprehensive, multi-system strategies, there is no shortage of comprehensive consultancies to approach – more and more of them now working to promote and implement the WELL Building Standard in their projects.
In the uncertain economic cycle to which we presently seem to be destined, it is understandable that companies will become more circumspect about new investments – and where they do take place they will need to be expertly targeted and guaranteed of good results. In this context pursuing a new LED-based lighting system or heat management installation can be one of the most astute investments any company will make, given that they promise both to reduce energy expenditure and contribute to improved working environments.
(1) WGBC Report