Page 18 — Construction, Design & Engineering — April 2018 T here has lately been a dramatic industry shift toward real estate that enhances the health and performance of occupants. This is a departure from the past, when buildings were typically designed to house people rather than optimize their experience, and cost was the driving force behind every design and construction deci- sion. This model often resulted in inefficient operational per- formance, poor indoor air qual- ity and ventilation, inadequate lighting, and uncomfortable spaces that ultimately compro- mised health and productivity for building occupants. Over the past 40 years, the economy has shifted to place a much higher value on the productivity of workers. In the 1970s, the U.S. was still consid- ered a manufacturing economy in an industrial nation, and com- panies were valued primarily based on their tangible assets. Today, the U.S. is primarily considered a service economy, where organizations are valued based on their intellectual capital – their people. In today’s knowledge econ- omy, a 1-10-100-1000 rule-of- thumb ratio helps illustrate the relative importance of an orga- nization’s employees. For every $1 spent on building design, $10 is likely to be spent on construc- tion, $100 on operat ions and $1,000 on employ- ees, for the life of a build- ing. If people are a firm’s greatest cost, as well as its greatest asset, shouldn’t buildings be designed to reduce this cost and optimize this asset? Concurrent with the shift toward an economy driven by intellectual capital, a growing body of academic and indus- try research has emerged that definitively correlates human experience and performance with indoor environmental fac- tors. One of the best-known studies by Harvard’s Depart- ment of Environmental Heath put test subjects in controlled rooms with varying levels of carbon dioxide, ventilation rates and volatile organic compound levels. In all forms of cognitive function, the rooms with supe- rior indoor environments scored higher than conventional indoor environments. This research has helped prove that healthy buildings can impact a company’s bottom line through reduced absentee- ism, improved retention and greater employee productivity. And office isn’t the only sector to try to capitalize on this change. Residential, hospitality, health care and even industrial owners are taking steps toward healthier buildings. Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners, a Colorado-based com- mercial real estate investment and development company, has established a strong reputation for developing buildings that bring health and wellness to the forefront of design. “We focus on creating work- spaces that support the health and wellbeing of our tenants because we want their busi- nesses to grow and thrive,” said Cyndi Thomas, partner at Etkin Johnson. “That’s why our indus- trial and office spaces offer envi- ronmentally friendly features that aim to not only cut down on overhead costs, but to improve employee satisfaction. Atria, one of our latest developments, fea- tures glass overhead doors and 12-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows that provide fresh air and ample natural light throughout the building. Outdoor workspaces with views of open space and the mountains allow tenants to incorporate natural elements into the workday – a proven way to boost productivity, focus and creativity.” As showcased in projects like Atria, key areas for impact in healthy buildings include an abundance of natural light, improved electric lighting, enhanced indoor air quality, emphasis on active design fea- tures and incorporating biophil- ia, among others. Stok, a San Francisco-based high-performance real estate services firm, typically takes the following approach for real estate owners, developers, and corporate occupiers interested in exploring ways to optimize health in their spaces: 1. Discover: Gain a complete understanding of all project goals. By doing so, healthy building strategies can be incor- porated as a tool to enhance the financial and operational perfor- mance of the building, rather than be seen as a distraction or burden. 2. Define: Next, define project goals based on findings from the discovery phase. Stok often helps clients achieve their health and wellness objectives through WELL or Fitwel certification. When these existing certifica- tion standards don’t align with project goals, stok will develop a customized strategy that does. 3. Execute: Based on the proj- ect’s needs, stok integrates sus- tainable design, engineering and commissioning services with project management. This inte- gration can reduce the friction encountered during traditional project delivery, optimizing timelines and reducing costs. 4. Measure: Once a space is delivered, it continues to evolve as use conditions change. Sever- al new low-cost technologies are allowing organizations to mea- sure, and thus manage, indoor environmental conditions to help optimize the experience of occupants over the lifespan of a building. Organizations that discover and define healthy building tar- gets and take advantage of new technologies for their spaces will be at the forefront of the indus- try. The combined value derived from improved occupant well- ness and productivity pro- vides a strong business case for healthy buildings. Awhite paper authored by stokwill be publicly available soon – the paper exam- ines how these impacts on pro- ductivity, retention and health can be quantified for owners and occupiers alike. s Healthy buildings: Optimizing for wellness, productivity Green Building Spotlight Jeremy Attema Real estate strategy manager, stok Optimize your space for health & wellness. stok creates value for both owners and occupants by delivering healthy, regenerative, high performance real estate. Healthy Building Services : WELL and Fitwel Certification, Materials Consulting, Biophilic Design, Commissioning, and Project Management. Call for a complimentary building evaluation: (720) 377-5457