The tenant's role in creating the business case for high performance low-carbon buildings: systematic literature review and post occupancy evaluation

30 Jun 2018

The ultimate test of the business case for high performance low carbon building is to consider how the human benefits of these buildings could be reliably quantified to prove beyond all doubt the positive Return on Investment (ROI). After all, staff costs, including salaries and benefits, typically account for about 90% of business operating costs. Therefore, what may appear a modest improvement in employee health or productivity can have a huge financial implication for employers – one that is many times larger than other financial savings associated with an efficiently designed and operated building.
In this report, the researchers explore the potential of tenants/owners occupying high performance low carbon buildings to create positive environmental behaviours among the occupants so that the building should perform as it is. 
The report is structured in two stages. In the first stage, a systematic review is conducted to explore the previous studies that support embedding organisational practices at an organisational or tenant level to incorporate effective occupants’ performance in these buildings. Secondly, post occupancy evaluation surveys are developed and conducted at both employee and management levels, to examine the relationship between behaviours and performances in high performance low carbon buildings. Findings from this study explain how organisational practices can encourage behavioural change which indirectly influences the occupants both physically and psychologically, thus creating a socio-psychological culture to understand the sustainability needs of the buildings in a comprehensive way. The report does not deny that technical elements can improve productivity and wellbeing, but it does offer a perspective that involves a paradigm shift to use behavioural elements to enhance this process. The research findings outlined in this report sets the groundwork for businesses to begin to answer this tantalizing question as to the true payback for building green.
The key findings from the Systematic Review include:

  • The tenant organisations are crucial in improving building’s overall performance by influencing the occupants’ performance
  • This is possible by generating direct engagement through key organisational functions
  • The immediate outputs will be critical in attracting the external pool and motivating internal occupants to be committed to the organisation.

The key findings from the Post Occupancy Review (POE) include:

  • The key organisational practices by the tenants to improve performance depends on the attitudes of the occupants, resources available to them and social influence
  • Tenants’ can improve the occupants’ environmental behaviour through organisational practices at a strategic and operational level.
Peer Reviewed: