Working conditions are also being discussed. Those working in industrial buildings should be exposed to sufficient natural light, as well as quality air and drinking water, healthful food and a scenic green outdoor cafeteria and break area.
JLL strategic sustainability director – energy & sustainability services Lisa Hinde asserts that the industrial sector, which encompasses manufacturing and logistics facilities, is beginning a needed wellness journey. And she expects the journey to go quickly, as more and more companies catch on.
She says that industry leaders are grasping the concept of environmental sustainability and will be investigating the next phase of the sustainability journey, well beyond solar panels.
Hinde serves on the WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) international advisory group on the industrial sector, established in response to escalating interest. The collective of experts will work to make sure that the wellness rating tool is relevant and available to the industrial sector.
She says mental health is a much-discussed topic. Many industrial facilities are located in areas isolated from populous areas where urban getaways—like restaurants and parks—are readily available.
Lengthy work shifts, elevated noise levels, and large workloads can lead to a decline in employees’ mental well-being. Industrial employers, therefore, are being called upon to supply more green space, respite areas and walking paths to address this need.
Also because of the isolated locations of these facilities, people drive to work instead of bike or walk. And improvements need to be made in carpooling and discounted public transport options for these workers.
The other issue facing industrial facilities – particularly in hot areas of Australia like Western Sydney – is managing interior environments. Employees can’t work in overheated facilities, thus costing the company in terms of worker productivity.
IWBI is demanding that industrial sectors become more regenerative. Yet this is a challenge, as these facilities vary greatly in terms of purpose and size of workforce.
For a warehouse with many employees, then the facility should be installed with thermal comfort interventions and a more sizable break area.
In addition, tenants must maintain operational control over their facilities, so that they can meet their employees’ wellness needs.
Hinde says that these issues must be addressed now, as the market for home delivered goods continues to grow.
WELL Building Institute vice president Australia and New Zealand Jack Noonan says that wellness-motivated design is catching on in the industrial sector.
Real estate company Prologis, the largest global owner of industrial facilities, delivered a 25,803 square metre build-to-suit distribution facility for Pantos Logistics in Tilburg, Netherlands, that attained an honour of WELL Certified Gold.
This logistics facility is lined with green interior walls, and a refreshment stand is available in every corner to offer fresh water treated and filtered in accordance with WELL standards. The interior spaces are suffused with light, and the building envelope is airtight complete with a glass vestibule acting in the role of an air lock for a clean interior environment and to provide energy efficiency. The building boasts other air quality measures that include a heat pump ventilation system and plentiful windows—plus a sizable, welcoming entry and break areas positioned apart from the workspace. Outside the structure lies a landscaped area complete with park benches. And a “smart wall” empowers employees to supply feedback regarding the temperature and the air quality of their workplace.
Prologis is also responsible for the premiere WELL certified warehouse in Tacoma in Washington state, which boasts quality air, water and natural sunlight, and an outdoor walking trail and a blueberry patch.
The Tacoma warehouse resulted from IWBI’s 2017 warehouse pilot program, with its standards being applied—like the tenet of sustainability in general–to many industrial properties throughout the globe.