USD/CBRE Study Finds That Employees in Green Buildings Are More Productive

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Researchers at the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and CB Richard Ellis have found that employees who work in green buildings are more productive than their counterparts who work in non-green buildings. Green buildings were defined as those that are LEED-certified at any level or those that bear the Energy Star label.

In the study, researchers Norm Miller, Ph.D., academic director at the Burnham-Moores Center, and David Pogue, national director of sustainability at CBRE, surveyed 154 green buildings nationwide containing over 2,000 tenants, 534 of which participated in the study. The study is the largest of its kind by far; a 2003 study looked at productivity levels in just 33 green buildings. Miller and Pogue used two measurements of productivity: sick days and the self-reported productivity percentage change after moving into a new building.

Forty-five percent of respondents reported that they had experienced an average of 2.88 fewer sick days at their new, green office location vs. their previous non-green office location. An equal amount noted no effect, while 10 percent reported more sick days. The 10 percent that reported more sick days were residents of Energy Star-labeled, not LEED-certified buildings. Unlike LEED buildings, Energy Star buildings do not have air quality requirements.

Based on the average salary of the tenants, an office space of 250 square feet per worker and 250 workdays a year, the 2.88 fewer sick days translate into a net impact of $4.91 per employee, according to the authors.

On the self-reported productivity measure, 12 percent of respondents said that they strongly agree that employees were more productive in green buildings, 42.5 percent agreed that employees were more productive and 45 percent noted no change in productivity. According to the authors’ calculations, the increase in productivity translates into a net impact of $20.82 per employee, based on an office space of 250 square feet per worker and using average salary as an index.

For the full study, go to www.usdrealestate.com.

SOURCE Burnham-Moores Center at the University of San Diego

Carl Stein: Preserving the Past, Building for the Future - City College

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Carl Stein is interviewed about the history and preservation efforts by elemental at Shepard Hall as part of the College’s Centennial celebration

Construction Update: Shepard Hall Original Entry Stairs Revealed

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Shepard Stairs

As demolition and excavation progress continues for the newly designed building entry, a essay writing services startling discovery: the original entry stairs built in 1907, long believed to have been demolished, are found buried under earthwork fill below the recently removed concrete ramp. Along with the stairs a significant portion of original schist stone wall is also uncovered. Elemental and the construction team are now evaluating if portions of the original elements can be incorporated into the new entry design.

NYT: The Bottom Line on Corporate Sustainability

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Today in the Green Inc. blog of the New York Times, a fascinating study by the Harvard Business Review about corporate sustainability being a “key driver” of innovation that also yields real financial rewards rather than extra cost is discussed. We’re still reviewing the study and will contribute our thoughts on it soon.

Follow Elemental on Facebook & Twitter

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Elemental is on Facebook. Become a fan and keep up with our latest news, construction updates and general interest postings. We can also be followed on Twitter as elementalnyc.

NYT: Some Buildings Not Living Up to Green Label

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In today’s New York Times there is a telling article that talks about the ‘soft underbelly’ of LEED. The article observes that many LEED-rated buildings perform well below their projected levels. The article goes on to say that this is largely because there is no incentive for owners and users to efficiently operate their buildings once the LEED certification has been achieved, generally at the end of or shortly after construction. This misses a basic point of sustainable design and also points to a serious weak spot in the otherwise-useful LEED rating system.

Truly sustainable architecture results primarily from obtaining the optimal services from the fewest resources. Rather than relying on superimposed equipment and technologies, the most effective measures for improving building performance come from basic planning and design strategies which recognize the programs to be served and the ways in which the building is to be operated.

Elemental Selected as Finalist for Scenic Hudson Land Trust

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Elemental has been selected as one of five finalist firms for the design of a new kayak pavilion and historic reconstruction of the Red Barn for The Scenic Hudson Land Trust Long Dock Beacon site.

McKinsey: Energy Improvements Can Save $1.2 Trillion Through 2020

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A new report on energy efficiency from McKinsey found that the US alone could save $1.2 trillion through 2020, by investing $520 billion in improvements like sealing leaking building ductwork and replacing inefficient household appliances with new, energy-saving models. The report recommends such items as education about potential energy efficiency savings,  more stringent energy codes, efficiency requirements for appliances and stronger financial incentives for making efficiency improvements.

Elemental Commissioned to Design New Midtown Medical Facility

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Elemental has been selected to complete the interior design and planning of a new 16,000 sf medical facility in Midtown Manhattan. The charge is to create a multi-tenant facility that is both modern, inviting and sensitive to the patient experience. Stay tuned for design and construction updates.

Construction Update: Shepard Hall Reconstruction Kicks-off

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Shepard Apse

The 9th & 10th phases of the award-winning historic reconstruction of Shepard Hall at the City College of New York has officially begun. The project, which includes the replacement of nearly 8,000 pieces of failing terra cotta sculpture ornament with new glass-fiber reinforced concrete replacement units and a new main entrance to the building, is expected to be complete by May 2011. Stay tuned for regular construction progress updates from the field.