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EFFECT OF GREEN WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE

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Today, to minimize the negative environmental impacts establishment of green buildings has become a worldwide trend. Many industries are adopting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, as a global benchmark for high performing green buildings. This concept is new to Sri Lanka and the impact of LEED on employee performance and satisfaction has not been studied yet. Therefore, this study attempts to examine the perceptions of employees regarding their green workplace environment and its impact on their performance. The study was conducted with randomly selected, 30 factory staff members and 30 factory workers in an export apparel company that has won a platinum award for LEED. Majority of employees (68.9%) mainly factory staff members, had a good understanding about the LEED practices. Employees believe that introduction of LEED created a good impact on their work lives. About 86% of employees perceive that their performance has improved after establishing the green building. The green building has rewarded the company by improving its employee performance, saving energy and resources, maintaining the market, and creating a better public image.
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International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment (ICSBE-2010)
Kandy, 13-14 December 2010
EFFECT OF GREEN WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT ON
EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE
Samaranayake, S.U.
1
and De Silva, S.
2
1
Dept. of Agricultural Extension, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
E-mail: ssuari.uop@gmail.com
Telephone: +94-11-2650567-8 (Ext. 2006 - 2001); Fax: + 94-11-2651216
2
Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Agricultural Extension, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
E-mail: saliyades@pdn.ac.lk
Telephone: +94-81-2395522; Fax: + 94-81-2395521
Abstract: Today, to minimize the negative environmental impacts establishment of green buildings has become
a worldwide trend. Many industries are adopting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
certification, as a global benchmark for high performing green buildings. This concept is new to Sri Lanka and
the impact of LEED on employee performance and satisfaction has not been studied yet. Therefore, this study
attempts to examine the perceptions of employees regarding their green workplace environment and its impact
on their performance. The study was conducted with randomly selected, 30 factory staff members and 30
factory workers in an export apparel company that has won a platinum award for LEED. Majority of employees
(68.9%) mainly factory staff members, had a good understanding about the LEED practices. Employees believe
that introduction of LEED created a good impact on their work lives. About 86% of employees perceive that
their performance has improved after establishing the green building. The green building has rewarded the
company by improving its employee performance, saving energy and resources, maintaining the market, and
creating a better public image.
Keywords: green buildings, employee performance, LEED, sustainable development
1 Introduction
The textile and apparel sector continues to maintain its dominant position in the industrial sector of
Sri Lanka, while contributing around 44% of industrial production and 49% of the country’s total
export earnings with a value of US $2,809 million in 2009 (Central Bank, 2009). There are 830
garment factories in Sir Lanka, of which 157 are small, 438 are medium, and 235 are large. The
industry produces around 500 million units of garments per annum of which woven garments account
for 55% and knitwear 45 % (Saheed, 2005). The present status of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka
represents dynamic, ever-changing conditions in import dependence for fabrics and other raw
materials, tax and fiscal incentives/barriers including GSP+, labor costs, and skilled and trainable
labor. In addition to the above, other conditions such as health and safety, environmental issues,
quality issues, eco-labeling, formation of economic and trade groups, currency fluctuation, etc., also
have an effect on the apparel industry (Saheed, 2005).
Environmental responsibility is fast becoming a major determinant of sustainability of any business in
the world. As David Birnbaum (2010) states end-consumers begin to see that global warming and
other environmental problems that directly affect the quality of their lives and those of their families;
they will shun products which are perceived to have been made in conditions that pollute the planet.
Therefore, green buildings will become a necessary for the survival of apparel industry. In this
respect, establishment of green factories has become imperative to reduce environmental burden
imposed by the use of the raw material and energy resources, waste generation and chemical
emission. Many organizations are adopting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
certification
20
, as a global benchmark for high performing green buildings.
20
LEED is an internationally recognized rating system that acts as third party verification for green building
certification (USGBC, 2002).
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Although this concept is new to Sri Lanka, responding to demands of the buyers, three green factories
have already been established in apparel industry with LEED standards. Brandix Green Factory at
Seeduwa was the first apparel manufacturing facility in the world to be rated Platinum certification
under LEED. MAS Holding’s
Thuruli
factory in Thulhiriya, and CKT apparel of Hidramani Group
are the other green factories in Sri Lanka. It is important for these organizations i.e. top management
and other interested parties, to understand the benefits of green building environment from the
employees’ perspective. According to The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (2005), the green
building benefits relate to increased occupant productivity and satisfaction, exceeding even the
projected environmental benefits. However, the lack of worker awareness, communication problems,
and the lack of supporting research about reported employee benefits, may reduce expected benefits.
Therefore, this study was carried out to examine the perceptions of employees regarding their green
environment and its impact on their performance in one of the green factories in export apparel
industry.
2 Material and Methodology
2.1 Towards Green Buildings
The green building movement as a sustainable development strategy is fast becoming a necessity
(Prakash, 2005). Kibert (2007) defines Green Building as a healthy facility, built in a resource
efficient manner using ecologically based principles. According to LEED-EB Reference Guide
(2006), “Green” has become a shorthand term applied in building construction industry to denote high
performance buildings innovated with the objective of to be environmentally responsible,
economically profitable and healthy place to work and live.
According to a study done in the United States, buildings annually consume more than 30 percent of
the total energy and more than 60 percent of the total electricity. Green building practice can
substantially reduce negative environmental impacts through high performance, energy saving, and
market leading design, construction and operations practices. The added benefits of green operations
and management include reduced operating costs, enhanced building marketability, increased
workers’ productivity, and reduced potential liability resulting from indoor air quality problems
(LEED-EB Reference Guide, 2006).
2.2 Green Building Assessment Schemes
When attention and awareness regarding development of the sustainable constructions is increased, it
was very important to have an assessment system for green buildings. The most often building
environment assessment schemes that are used today include Building Research Establishment
Environmental Assessment Method – BREEAM, Comprehensive Assessment System for Building
Environment Efficiency – CASBEE, Green Star, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design – LEED (Prakash, 2005).
BREEAM scheme is the most widely used building environmental rating scheme in the UK, which
was voluntarily started in 1988. It assesses the building impact on the environment including
management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use, ecology, and
pollution and gives credits up to maximum of 102 under each category (Roderick
, et al,
2010)
.
CASBEE was started in 2001 that can be applied for many types of buildings, such as offices,
schools, retail stores, restaurants, halls, hospitals, hotels and apartments under various categories such
as planning, design, completion, operation and renovation (Endo
et al
, 2007). Green Star is the most
followed voluntary building environmental assessment scheme in Australia. It was developed to
accommodate the need of buildings in hot climates where cooling systems and solar shading are of
major importance (Roderick
, et al,
2010)
.
The Green Star rates a building with corresponding to its
management, the health and wellbeing of its occupants, accessibility to public transport, water use,
energy consumption, the embodied energy of its materials, land use and pollution (GREEN BIM,
2007)
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LEED is an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-
performance green buildings.
According to LEED-EB Reference Guide (2006) LEED-EB refers to
LEED Certification for Existing Buildings that cover building operation and system upgrades in
existing buildings where the majority of interior and exterior surfaces remain unchanged. This
certification process envelops whole-building cleaning and maintenance issues including chemical
use, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycling programs, exterior maintenance
programs, and system upgrades to meet green building energy, water, air, and lighting performance
standards. It aims to maximize the operational efficiency while minimizing the environment impacts.
LEED promotes a sustainable approach by considering the performance of green building on five key
areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy and
atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Innovations in operations
were also added recently as a key area to the system. This sixth category tries to cover the sustainable
building expertise as well as design measures not covered under the five initial environmental
categories (USGBC, 2002; LEED Reference Guide, 2006).
2.3 Research Methodology
A survey in the selected organization,
viz.
an export apparel factory that has won a platinum award for
LEED, was carried out to achieve the objectives of this research. It was conducted among randomly
selected, 30 factory staff members and 30 factory workers. Employee perceptions were obtained
through a structured questionnaire, which consisted of employee performance as dependant variable
and attributes of the indoor and outdoor environment as the independent variables. Mostly descriptive
statistical techniques were used to analyze data through the Statistical Package for Social Science
(SPSS) software. The findings were verified through interviews, informal discussions, and participant
observations.
3 Results and Discussion
3.1 Characteristics of the Employees
The response rates of factory workers and factory staff members were 100% and 93.33% respectively.
Normally the mainstream of the labor force in garment industry is females, thus the majority of the
respondents were females (67.8%). Most of the respondents were Machine Operators (43.1%) and a
greater part of the factory staff that responded were Production Supervisors (53.6%). Employees, who
had less than five years experience in the factory made up 75.9% of the respondents. Around 71% of
the employees were at the mid age group (25-35 years old) and approximately similar proportions
were belong to under 25 years old (13.8%) and above 35 years old (15.5%) categories respectively.
While majority of factory staff members (60.7%) were married, majority of factory workers were
unmarried. Considering the group of factory staff, greater part (89.3%) was educated up to G.C.E
Advance Level (A/L). Among factory workers that much education qualification was not observed as
the majority of them (73.3%) were in the up to G.C.E. Ordinary Level (O/L) category.
3.2 Employee Awareness about LEED
Majority of factory staff members (57%) perceive that they have very good understanding about
LEED standards practiced in the factory. In contrast, only 13% factory workers believe that they have
very good understanding about LEED. The
χ
2
test (p = 0.004) shows a significant relationship
between employee category and understanding about LEED. This may be due to the presence of
close relationship between factory staff members and the key personnel who are responsible for the
green project (green project team). There was not such kind of visible relationship between factory
workers and green project team.
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The results obtained for understanding about the environmental impacts of practicing LEED is
somewhat similar to above result. Most of factory staff members (57%) compared to only 14% of
factory workers believe that they have very good understanding about environment impacts of
practicing LEED. A significant relationship between employee category and understanding about the
environment impacts of practicing LEED was seen in the
χ
2
test (p = 0.002), perhaps again due to the
close relationship between factory staff members and green project team. Nevertheless, of the factory
workers 69% believed that they have a fair understanding about the environment impacts of LEED.
This may due to regularly updates about the factory commitment to protection of environment
through the internal communication unit which is operated by the Human Resources Department.
None of the employees perceived that they have poor understanding about the LEED standards and
their environmental impacts. The management takes a keen interest to update the employees, about
their commitment to reduce negative environment impacts through practicing LEED guidelines.
There was also a relationship between level of education and awareness of LEED standards and their
impact on environment. When the educational level of the employees increases their perceived
understanding regarding LEED also increases. Among the respondents who have studied up to A/L,
52% believed that they have very good understanding about the LEED standards, compared to only
20% of employees who have studied up to only O/L. There was also a relationship between gender
and awareness of LEED standards and their impact on environment. A strong rationalization for this
relationship could not be found except for the fact that the majority of the factory workers, who had
lower education level and contact with green project team, were females.
3.3 Perception on LEED / Green Workplace Environment
3.3.1 Indoor Environment Quality
Since people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, quality of the indoor environment plays
a critical role in people’s comfort, health, and work performance. Research suggests that Indoor
Environmental Quality (IEQ) improvements can increase worker productivity by as much as 16%,
resulting in rapid payback for IEQ capital investments (LEED- EB Reference Guide, 2006).
Figure 1:
Perception on Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ)
Figure 1 presents the percentage of employees (both factory workers and factory staff members) who
perceive that the selected parameters of indoor environment quality (IEQ) improved over the last two
years and the percentage of employees who attribute this improvement to the introduction of LEED
standards. Heerwagen (2000) stated that there is a direct effect of indoor air quality on performance.
Unit: % Employees
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As perceived by the majority of employees, indoor air quality has improved, compared to the
condition in the factory before the introduction of the LEED standards (i.e. green workplace
environment) in the factory. Out of them, 91% of the employees believe that improved indoor air
quality was due to introduction of green workplace environment. The informal discussions with the
factory employees also revealed that they are really satisfied about the air quality of the factory.
However, some complained about a dustiness of the indoor environment. Dust is normally generated
by the garments and there is a probability of accumulation of dust inside the factory due to less
number of exhaust fans used. Management has provided masks for the employees, but those were not
sufficient sometimes according to the factory workers.
A study done by Fisk (2002) found that improvements in lighting and thermal conditions may lead to
additional and even larger productivity gains. Day lighting emerged as an important IEQ factor,
which is naturally affected by material and colour selections, which affected employee’s perception of
performance and productivity (Prakash, 2005). Most of the employees (95%) perceive that there is an
improvement in indoor environment due to higher day light usage and lighting quality. Of them
almost all (98%) attribute this improvement to introduction of LEED standards. The natural light
enables keeping of more plants inside the plants. Employees were highly satisfied not only due to
increased quality and quantity of light but also due reduced stress levels as a result of more greenery
views in the indoor environment. Majority of employees (95%) believe that there is more possibility
to see outside gardens after the factory was converted to a green workplace. In the past employees
worked in a more covered or closed environment. Now they can see outside green environment,
which has helped them to recover from fatigue and tiredness of their eyes, which the employees
appreciate very much. Employees suggested naturalizing the indoor environment by arranging more
green plants inside the factory too.
A study conducted by Kumar, et
al,
(2002) found that inadequate ventilation systems negatively affect
employee health, well-being, and productivity. Performance (speed and accuracy) of typical office
tasks improves with increased ventilation rate (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2009). Most
of the employees (96.6%) perceive that ventilation of the indoor environment is better than previous
level of ventilation thanks to the introduction of LEED standards (88%). The company has installed
sensors in every occupied area to monitor the CO
2
concentration and to operate fresh air dampers to
maintain at 900 ppm with aim of maintaining proper ventilation inside the plants. Employees also
believe that there is an improvement in the thermal comfort after the introduction of green workplace
environment.
Majority of employees, but lower percentages compared other IEQ parameters perceive that odor
noticed in the factory and density of employees within a plant were decreased after the introduction of
LEED. Most of the employees are now enjoying more space for each individual than past.
3.3.2 Outdoor Environment Quality
As mentioned in the LEED-EB manual for operations and maintenance (2008), sustainable sites,
water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, and resource and material use are considered as criteria of
measuring the outdoor environment quality. The percentages of employees who perceived that the
selected parameters of outdoor environment quality (OEQ) improved over the last two years and the
percentage of employees who attribute this improvement to the introduction of LEED standards are
presented in Figure 2. When considering minimization of water wastage and practices of water
recycling, approximately all the employees agreed those were improved mainly because of the LEED
standards. The company has been able to save water up to 58.3% after the introduction of LEED in
the factory through increasing water use efficiency, water recycling and rain water harvesting.
Similarly, majority of employees perceive that there is an improvement in energy efficient operating
strategies within the factory and most of them think that this was happened due to introduction of
green workplace environment in the factory. The company replaced the air conditioning system with
an energy efficient system and installed skylights to reduce artificial light requirements. It has also
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replaced two vans operated on auto diesel to transport cut fabric pieces and daily office use by two
electric vehicles.
Reduction of contributions to air pollution and to global warming is also believed improved after the
introduction of green workplace environment. The factory has successfully reduced the emission of
CO
2
, SO
2
, NO
X
gases to the atmosphere by 78.6%, 71.2%, and 92.2% respectively. Employees’
positive response regarding reduction of harmful chemical and toxins usage, environmentally
sensitive buildings, sustainable landscape management and condition of outdoor environment of the
factory were also very high. Most of them agree that this improvement is a result of implementation
of green project.
When comes to the solid wastage management and recycling, greater parts of the employees believe
that that factory has improved after the green project. The factory was able to reduce the waste
generation by 100% either by recycling or reuse. They are not only focused on typical wastes
management techniques but also on processing wastes to come up with various products. Employees
suggested improving the outdoor environment by increasing greenery area, planting medicinal plants
and renew the garden time to time.
Figure 2:
Perception on Outdoor Environment Quality
3.4 Impact on Work Life
A green workplace environment benefits different stakeholders of an organization. There are many
financial outcomes resulted by the green workplace environment through reducing resource
utilization, maintenance costs, risks and health hazards, absenteeism, and turnover while increasing
the overall productivity. It improves the process innovation and increase the work process efficiency.
From the shareholders point of view, it may help to improve public image, enable to sell to pro-
environmental customers and attract high quality workers, and improve ability to work with
community stakeholders. Not only that but it may also help employees to improve quality of work
life, personal productivity, and well being (Heerwagen, 2000; Soundarapandian, 2007).
Figure 3 shows the specific impacts of green workplace environment on the performance of
employees. All the respondents perceive that complaints regarding environment issues were reduced
after the implementation of green workplace environment. The greater part of them (88.7%) believes
Unit: % Employees
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International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment (ICSBE-2010)
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the green project as the main reason for this change. Many health issues often arise due to poor
indoor and outdoor environments of the workplaces. Poor IEQ has been related with sick building
syndrome (SBS) symptoms, respiratory illnesses, sick leave, and loss in productivity (Seppanen and
Fisk, 2006). According to the Department of Labour of Sri Lanka, Rs. 65.9 million has been spent as
compensation to settle 265 industrial accidents in 2008. However, in this factory 97% of the
employees perceive that there was a reduction of their health care cost after the introduction of green
workplace. Majority of employees believe that the main reason for reduction of health care cost was
the safe, hygienic and comfortable environment gifted by the green project.
Figure 3:
Performances of the Employees
Errors made by employees were reduced as perceived by the employees themselves after the
implementation of the green workplace environment. Many employees stated that their mental
satisfaction, clear mind and reduced stress improved their concentration on work, consequently
reduced errors made by them. When considering the quality and quantity of the output,
approximately 93% of employees from each employee category believe their performances were
improved after the implementation of green workplace environment. More than half of the
employees perceived that their absenteeism rate was also reduced than past. However, there was a
significant difference between employee categories and absenteeism rates as 71% of factory staff
members perceive reduction in absenteeism is due to introduction of green environment, whereas only
43% of factory workers perceive the same way.
Both factory workers and factory staff members perceive that there is an improvement in comfort of
the working environment to perform better in day to day work. When considering the overall
perception about performance of employees, majority of employees (86.2%) believe that their
performances at workplace have improved after the introduction of green workplace environment to
the factory. Furthermore, 89% of the factory staff members perceive that performance of employees
under their supervision has improved significantly after LEED (green project).
When considering the job satisfaction, greater part of the respondents (around 90%) believe that their
job satisfaction increased after the implementation of LEED standards. There was not a significant
difference between employee categories on perception of comfort of the working environment or
perceived job satisfaction. As indicated by the employees, in addition to the physical benefits, they
were highly satisfied with the psychological benefits of green workplace environment. This supports
the findings of Hikari Kato
et al
. (2009) of green workplace offers greater psychological benefits,
Unit: % Employees
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International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment (ICSBE-2010)
Kandy, 13-14 December 2010
mental and job satisfaction to employees in addition to physical improvements, health and
productivity gains. Vicki Heath (2006) has also stated that there is a heavy influence of employee’s
workplace environment on their error rate, level of innovation and collaboration with other
employees, absenteeism and, ultimately, how long they stay in the job.
Having a green workplace is not only healthy for the environment, but it will contribute to the general
wellbeing of employees and they will feel more inspired and motivated, leading to improved
productivity while creating a perception on employee to be more environmentally friendly and to be
greener at home. Past studied have reveled that office workers believe they would be 21% more
productive if given a better working environment. Nearly 90% of senior executives, feel that a better
physical working environment would have a positive impact on their company's bottom line. Over
90% say that the quality of their working environment affects their mood and attitude about their
work. Almost as many (89%) believe that the quality of their working environment is very important
to their sense of job satisfaction (Kirsten, 2007, Kato
et al.,
2009)
4 Conclusion
The green workplace environment (adoption of LEED standards) has rewarded the apparel company
by improving their employee performance and job satisfaction, creating a better public image and
maintaining the market, while helping to minimize the environmental damage. Both factory staff
members and factory workers believe that introduction of green workplace environment created a
good impact on their work lives. Subsequently, this positive attitude regarding green workplace
environment, in future would helpful to attract talent laborers and reducing labor turnover, a serious
problem in the apparel industry.
The results were also useful to managers and interested parties by highlighting areas of perceived
deficiency in green workplaces and ensuring a more targeted effort in meeting the needs and
expectations of employees. It was found that factory staff members are more aware about the LEED
and the environmental impacts of practicing LEED than factory workers, perhaps due to their
differences with relationship with the personnel implementing the green project and education levels.
Employees perceive that there is a deficiency in attitudes regarding benefits of the green workplace
environment, thus there should be an attitude change of employees and update employee knowledge.
The turnover of the employees, particularly the factory workers should be addressed to make the
green workplace more successful in this company.
Finally, the researchers believe that these results helped identifying strengths and weaknesses of
establishing green workplace in factories in employees point of view, a relatively new concept in Sri
Lanka. Further research on green workplaces in Sri Lanka in comparison to traditional workplaces
would enable generalization of these findings.
References
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Acknowledgements
The apparel company and its staff are greatly appreciated for giving the opportunity to undertake this
study and providing the necessary information.
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... Dustiness of the indoor environment is still there. Dust is normally generated by fabrics and there is a probability of dust being inside the hotel due to the low number of exhaust fans used (Samaranayake and De Silva, 2010). ...
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... More than 90% office workers mentioned quality working environment affects the mood and attitude on their work. Almost 89% were stated that working environment quality is very important even to sense their job satisfaction (Samaranayake and Silva, 2010). White and Gatersleben, (2011) revealed that greeneries on building is highly influence the perception of beauty. ...
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Green infrastructures such as living walls are technological solutions to replace the declined greenery at urbanized environment and also reliable applications for thermal regulation in buildings through insulation effect and escalates the energy use efficiency. Thermal comfort and local climate are spatiotemporally variable. The existing research gap should be addressed by evaluating the performance of vertical green walls in tropical condition. In this study, thermal performance, relative humidity (RH) and CO2 concentration were quantified for basic three types of green infrastructures; such as (T1) living walls, (T2) indirect green façades and (T3) direct green façades located in Colombo metropolitan in Sri Lanka. An in-situ experimental study was conducted considering temperatures at 1 m and 0.1 m distance in front of the green walls, inside the foliage, air gap and external wall surface comparatively to adjacent bare wall control. Three case studies per green infrastructure within Colombo metropolitan area were purposively selected. Simultaneously, RH and CO2 concentration at 0.1 m in front of the green and bare walls were measured for the performance quantification. The internal thermal comfort simulation and occupants’ satisfaction questionnaire survey was executed to assess the green infrastructure performances. The study revealed that vertical greenery systems were highly effective on external wall surface temperature reductions at 1100 h–1500 h time zones. T1 and T2 accounted for superior temperature reduction in the range of 1.61 °C–1.72 °C through the façade relative to the distance than T3. Maximum temperature reduction compared to the bare wall control was obtained for the T1 (0.28 °C–8.0 °C) followed by T2 (1.34 °C–7.86 °C) and T3 (1.34 °C–6.64 °C). Averaged RH increment (1.6%–1.81%) and CO2 reduction (0.63%) occurred near green walls at day time compared to control. An average 28 °C simulated indoor temperature circumstantiate the indoor thermal comfort. 58% and 89.5% occupants’ were satisfied with thermal and visual comfort respectively, thus emphasizing façade greening as a sustainable approach on micro climatic changes and human thermal comfort.
... Data collected with CBE can be analysed with regression analyses to find the relation between occupants' satisfaction and IEQ and following it how it changes their behaviour in offices. As results, the information from analyses will clarify the weakness of offices and following it the building management and designer will be able to cover those weaknesses for following construction while they will be able to save energy and increase office's performance (Choi et al., 2012;Samaranayake & De Silva, 2010;Seppanen et al., 2006;Sundstrom, 1982). ...
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The question of how workplace performance are affected human’s productivity by environmental feature has preoccupied designers as well as researchers and construction industry experts for many years (J. Vischer, 2007). Since offices are clearly built for users it makes sense from an ergonomics view to consider the occupants’, comfort, health, productivity, and efficiency. In this case, the relationship between improved indoor environmental quality and increased occupant wellbeing and productivity is well documented in the literatures (Evans, 2003; Loftness, FAIA, Hartkopf, & Gurtekin, 2003; Romm & Browning, 1994; Singh, Syal, Grady, & Korkmaz, 2010). To demonstrate it, a study by Loftness et al. (2005) suggests that work environment has potential to reduce 30% of workers’ productivity in weak environment or in versus it can increase their work productivity by 30% in well environment condition. In other word, occupants respond to indoor environment quality, and changes their behaviour in different ways and the result of this change has direct effect on their work performance (Thatcher & Milner, 2012).
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Research into indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and its effects on health, comfort and performance of occupants is becoming increasingly essential. Facility managers are interested in IEQ's close relationship to energy use. Employers hope to enhance employee comfort and productivity, reduce absenteeism and health-care costs, and reduce risk of litigation. The rising interest in this field has placed additional pressure on the research community for practical guidelines on creating a safe, healthy and comfortable indoor environment.
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With the increasing awareness of sustainable development in the construction industry, implementation of an energy rating procedure to assess buildings is becoming more important. The most representative building environment assessment schemes that are in use today are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and Green Star. This paper aims to focus on the investigation of energy performance assessment for new office buildings within the LEED, BREEAM and Green Star schemes. A review of the three schemes with regards to their assessment methods, scopes, performance criteria and energy rating scales are presented. A computational simulation, using software IES Virtual Environment has been conducted to quantitatively benchmark the energy rating method under the three schemes. The selected case study building was a typical open-plan office building located in Dubai. Through this study, an attempt is made to make clear how building energy performance is assessed and therefore awarded with energy credits under the LEED, BREEAM and Green Star schemes.
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