Harry Etra, Director of Sustainability, CodeGreen Solutions
As the second GRESB Health and Well-Being module submission cycle deadline nears (July 1, 2017), well- being in real estate is not a fading trend. Rather, it is an investor, tenant, and employee driven consideration for real estate owners and operators.
In 2016, 174 entities (over 20% of respondents) voluntarily completed the GRESB Health and Well-Being module. An interesting data point from the report was that 60% of respondents said that the most senior decision maker for health and well-being issues was different that the senior sustainability decision maker.
At Code Green, we use our own office in a laboratory for testing new technologies and initiatives. In true office-of-the-future, millennial form, we’ve embraced everything from standing desks to yoga balls to mini-elliptical machines. In one of our conference rooms, we are testing out a green wall solution and monitoring the impact on air quality in the space. At the same time, our team is piloting off-the-shelf and self-made standing desk solutions. We also encourage our team to get out of the office and schedule walking meetings.
As sustainability and energy efficiency consultants, we have seen an increasing demand for services and solutions around health and well-being. Though new to the ESG space, we’ve already been a part of project teams helping building owners and tenants across the country pursue Fitwel and WELL certifications. As part of L&L’s 425 Park Avenue project that is pursuing LEED and WELL Core & Shore Certification, we have seen tenants sign record setting leases. We expect that over time, the tenant and broker community will become more familiar with the impact of office spaces on employees’ health and well-being.
It will be interesting to see if health and well-being decisions remain separated from other environmental, social, and governance topics or if they end up following under the control of the same decision makers. We are in the early days of investors and tenants figuring out the questions to ask and metrics to track around health and well-being to inform investment and leasing decisions.