From left: ISPT group executive Mark Bassett, Sustainability Victoria chief executive Anita Roper, NAB group executive Gavin Slater and and Tony Arnel GBCA chair launch a campaign encouraging businesses to go green.

Businesses are being urged to join the green building revolution and boost their productivity through a new joint-funded Rudd and Brumby Government public awareness campaign and a dedicated website.

Building and Plumbing Industry Commissioner and Chair of the World Green Buildings Council, Tony Arnel, said the campaign would help businesses improve their profitability by thinking green when leasing or refurbishing offices.

“The CSIRO estimates that lost productivity from poor office environments costs Australia up to $21 billion a year,” Arnel said.

“Green offices make commercial sense because they create a healthier, more productive workplace and employees take less sick leave.”

Arnel launched the joint State and Federal government funded campaign with the chief executive of Sustainability Victoria, Anita Roper, at 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The building at 500 Bourke Street has undergone one of Australia’s largest sustainability refurbishments over the last two years. Features such as rainwater flushing toilets, timer-controlled lighting and efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning are expected to generate annual savings of around $65,000 in water costs and $600,000 in electricity and gas bills.

Independent research on Melbourne buildings demonstrated productivity benefits for businesses of all sizes.

One before-and-after study of a law firm that moved into a refurbished green office space found a 39 per cent reduction in sick leave and a big jump in billable hours, despite reduced working time. In another building that underwent a green fit-out, productivity increased by 13 per cent.

“You don’t need to be a large company or move to brand new green building to reap the rewards of a green office,” Arnel said.

lblundell@thefifthestate.com.au