I’m a big fan of green ergonomics. In my last post, ‘Green ergonomics, why bother?’, I shared research that shows how green ergonomics are good for your health and good for business.
It’s really encouraging to see such a definite rise in awareness globally about the need to create healthy work environments and see the groundswell for green building ever increasing. That said however, the emphasis to date has very much been on the buildings themselves rather than green ergonomics per se and research shows that there’s still room for improvement.
Feedback from green building occupants in the States revealed that while people were more satisfied overall with their green workplace, there was limited evidence showing that green building practices enhanced human experience,.
The main concerns people raised were with the seemingly smaller but equally important workplace environmental factors such as lighting, temperature, acoustics and office layout.
While the buildings themselves were great, the interiors and/or the way people were working within their new buildings was less so. Having worked in this field for many years, this comes as little surprise to me and naturally leads me back to thinking more about the ergonomics of the workplace and how people working there are using the space.
I’ve always taken an active interest in workplace wellbeing and have been quite a lone voice at times. Now however, with evidence based research I no longer feel so alone as it makes complete sense for people to be thinking a lot more about how we, fit into the work environment we are developing and where we spend so much of our time and money.
The cost to retro fit a building which has been poorly designed is significantly more than if it has been well thought through, the ideal time to consider green ergonomics is in the planning stages, (that said of course, retro-fitting is still good for business) when property developers are talking to architects, project managers,interior designers, office fit-out specialists and construction companies prior to their commercial properties being built
Which brings me to New Zealand and more specifically Christchurch. What better opportunity do we have to showcase NZ as a world leader in green ergonomics with the current redevelopment of Christchurch’s central city and business communities than now?
From a sustainable viewpoint, there are numerous agencies in Christchurch available to help businesses to be more sustainable in their approach, many for free!
For example, Christchurch City Council’s Target Sustainability services offers free consultancy advice to selected developers of new commercial builds covering waste collection, waste reduction and water and energy efficiency, Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAfE) offers up to $5000 free advice from energy experts and EECA, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority offers post concept design energy efficiency advice grants.
Developed by the NZ Green Building Council along with Christchurch City Council and industry experts, BASE (Building a Sustainable Environment) is a simple introductory level green building assessment for new office, retail and mixed use buildings designed to help the Christchurch rebuild.
There is a mass of information out there for those willing to commit to the future. How great would it be if we took this opportunity to become world leaders in green ergonomics and leave a legacy of sustainable workplace wellness via the Christchurch rebuild?