An Investigation into Green Office Buildings' Occupants' Self-Assessed Productivity Levels

Master Thesis


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Global warming is becoming a topic on everyone's mind as the world turns towards a sustainable way of living. In the property industry, people are looking for ways to encourage investors to move towards sustainable development. This requires some convincing as the increased costs of green buildings need to be justified, specifically looking at the financial returns for the investor. Green buildings are said to increase productivity of its occupants but the difficulty in quantitatively measuring productivity has proven to be a stumbling block in this process. Various green buildings were identified, and their occupants interviewed to provide some answers on the impact of green certification in office buildings, specifically in Cape Town. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with occupants who worked in a building both prior to, as well as during the implementation of green initiatives. Difficulties in this measurement were noted and discussed throughout. It was decided as a result of the available responses, and the guidance from the literature, that perceived productivity could be used as an acceptable form of productivity. It was therefore also necessary to include a section in the interview on personal stresses that the respondent may be experiencing that might also impact productivity. Findings showed that whilst respondents were positive about the green environment and had seen an increase in productivity, a few were unsure about whether these were linked, especially when other factors such as change in management had occurred. The overall feeling of respondents was better and healthier in the greener building, and all reported favourably on most green initiatives. Future research on measurement tools can be investigated with a larger sample being interviewed. It will also be helpful to have further information into the respondents' backgrounds, position in the company and general feeling within the organization that may have an effect on productivity. The more knowledge the respondents have on the office, the larger the collection of reliable data. A greater range of green-starred buildings should be included as well as more than one respondent per building, to increase the sample for comparison.