A joint research study by GBCI India and Saint Gobain Research India
Healthy buildings shield their occupants from external contaminants, while also creating safe and comfortable indoor environments that enhance occupant health and improve productivity. GBCI India and Saint Gobain Research India conducted a joint research study to assess the indoor environment in Indian workspaces and the impact it has on the occupants, and released a corresponding white paper, Healthy Workplaces for Healthier People, that presents the findings of this research.
The study involved evaluation of 30 offices located in nine Indian cities covering three major climatic zones of India, and included a mix of green certified and non-certified spaces owned by private and government agencies. Collectively, these offices had an occupancy of about 30,000 people – 1,500 of whom also participated in an online survey that was a part of the study. Building data collected from project teams and professionals who work at the buildings along with onsite measurements and inspection, and occupant feedback collected through online surveys, were all analysed to determine whether the buildings were delivering healthy and comfortable spaces for people to work.
Report Key Findings
Indoor environment status in Indian workspaces: The study findings highlight considerable room for
improvement in Indian offices when it comes to maintaining a healthy indoor environment.
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) performance of green-certified spaces: Study findings showed that even though certified spaces were designed better, they were unable to deliver a high-quality indoor environment. The study highlights that maintaining a high-quality healthy and comfortable space is a continuous process. For buildings to realize the full health benefits of certification, green- certified projects
- Attempt to obtain all critical credits aimed at enhancing IEQ at the certification stage,
- Ensure regular operation and maintenance, and
- Regularly measure and track building performance.
Peoples’ perception of the indoor environment: Study findings demonstrate that critical indoor parameters like air quality and lighting are primarily unnoticeable by occupants. Despite poor lighting and air quality observed in most spaces, 76% of people reported satisfaction with lighting and 68% with air quality, highlighting that occupants’ perception does not accurately reflect IEQ performance. For accurate indoor environment evaluation, regular measurement and monitoring is necessary in addition to the occupants’ survey.
IEQ factors that impact people the most:
IEQ factors that impact people the most : GBCI Health Study
People’s health and lifestyle: A critical component of this study was to understand the general trend in occupants’ health, lifestyle and workplace habits by analysing data from the online survey taken by 1,500 people and to identify potential opportunities for improvements at the workplace that can encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle.
- 44% of survey respondents reported having one or more lifestyle-related health issue in the past year.
- 71% of respondents reported getting less than seven hours of average daily sleep and 37% of occupants reported sleep-related problems like difficulty falling asleep and not getting enough restful sleep.
- Lifestyle-related diseases were 23% higher from occupants with sleep-related issues than occupants with no sleep issues.
- Intake of fresh fruits and vegetables was found to be very low. People who ate two or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily reported less instances of lifestyle diseases.
- People engaging in vigorous activities had less incidences of lifestyle diseases compared to those who did moderate activities or did not perform any physical activity, however, only 34% of the respondents reported doing vigorous physical exercise.
- 64% reported sitting for 8 to 10 hours daily at their workstation, and only 19% took a break every hour.
- 66% of the surveyed occupants reported musculoskeletal issues.
Towards Better Workplaces
In a post pandemic world, occupants want to be confident that their workplaces are safe and healthy. The findings of this study are more relevant now than ever, bringing to the forefront critical indoor environmental issues that offices in India must tackle. The report outlines various strategies to enable a healthy office environment and enhance occupants’ quality of life. GBCI India hopes this report helps offices across India to prioritize the evaluation of their indoor environments and take the necessary actions to improve them.