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Green Buildings, Regenerativity and Wellbeing

With increased investment in green office buildings and their potential for positive impact on not just the environment and occupant wellbeing, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how to best realize that potential. The Community, Environment, and Justice Research Group (CEJRG) team is creating a living lab in the evolv1, a visionary project in Waterloo, ON, Canada, to study the impact of green building over time and in great details. It is a collaboration of industry and environmental NGOs, and academic collaborators, evolv1 is a 110,000 sq. ft. net-positive office building built based on regenerative design principles.

Our work in this area includes:

  • Reviews of empirical literature on the impacts of green buildings’ technologies on human wellbeing.
  • Theories related to indoor environment and wellbeing.
  • Exploration of wellbeing and physical design in different green building contexts.
  • Culture of sustainability and sense of belonging in the green building environment, and how they interact with the physical building in producing wellbeing among inhabitants.


Green Office Buildings and Employee Wellbeing at the City of Edmonton: Understanding the Complexities (2017-Present)

  • Principal Investigators: Simon Coulombe, Manuel Riemer, Bianca Dreyer, Stephanie Whitney, Joel Marcus

Poor employee mental health has become one of Canada’s most prevalent and costly occupational health issues. Better indoor environments in office buildings correlate with greater occupant satisfaction and wellbeing. It is assumed that superior working environments in green-certified office buildings support wellbeing and productivity. While empirical evidence is encouraging, it is limited and inconsistent.

Our study addresses several of the current shortcomings that may explain the variability in the empirical findings. Starting with a strengthened theoretical foundation and a broadened understanding of wellbeing, our research explores key research questions such as:

  • What are the differences in experienced wellbeing and productivity of government employees in newly developed green-certified buildings compared to retrofitted green-certified buildings and traditional buildings?
  • What are the key factors contributing to the positive mental health and productivity benefits of green-certified buildings for government employees?

We are exploring these questions in partnership with the City of Edmonton. A majority of their employees recently moved into a certified LEED green building. We used a variety of measures assessing, among other things, occupants’ satisfaction with physical features, psycho-environmental potential; and negative and positive wellbeing and physical health in this and two comparison buildings.

Contact Us:

T: 519.884.0710 x2982
Office Location: Evolv1 Building 420 Wes Graham Way Suite #102 Waterloo, ON N2L 0J6

Office Hours:

We are currently working remotely.