Raising The Bar With Green Buildings in Asia | United Technologies | John Mandyck

John - united techGreen buildings in Asia are increasing year by year as a result of rising urbanization. In recent years, Asia has seen a rapid increase in localized green building certification schemes. With buildings accounting for 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption and a corresponding 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, awareness of sustainability in Asia is steadily growing. Although the pace of adoption varies from country to country, the importance of green buildings is not to be ignored.

John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer of United Technologies Corporation and Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board of the World Green Building Council, talks exclusively with AsiaGreenBuildings to share his expertise on energy efficiency and the benefits of going green for building owners and policymakers.

What aspects have you observed in the green building space that differs Asia with leading green building cities such as London and New York?

The main difference is that Asian cities still need to overcome the first-cost mentality and understand the true value and cost savings of green buildings. Hence, more needs to be done to increase the level of education on green buildings.

That said, there is rapid acceleration in the adoption of green buildings in Asia. To share an example, China started 10 years after the U.S. but has already overtaken the U.S. in terms of green building investment.

As the Corporate Advisory Board of the World Green Building Council, how do you see the green movement progress in Asia? How can policymakers and industry players take part in the movement?

In Asia, each country is at a different point in their adoption of green buildings. However, the question is no longer if they are interested but how far and fast they can go.

Countries such as Singapore, China and Australia have their own green building certification systems. We have also seen a positive reception from industry leaders in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. Throughout the region, we’ve worked to advance the sustainability dialogue through our Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series.

Moving forward, I think policymakers and industry leaders should focus their attention on the occupant’s benefits to achieve their goals faster. Costs such as utilities and other expenses form about 10% of a building’s true operating cost – but 90% of the true operational costs come from the remuneration to building occupants.

What trends are you seeing in the green building industry that the Asian region can further adapt and ultimately implement?

The World Green Building Trends 2016 report, conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics and supported by United Technologies, shows that green building activity continues to double every three years. More and more, we’re seeing demand for energy-efficient products around the world. Buildings consume 40% of the world’s energy so the future of sustainability and the future of buildings go hand-in-hand. Countries won’t accomplish the 2050 lower carbon goals set by the United Nations if we don’t address the buildings sector.

The significant cost savings derived from green buildings as well as the benefits to occupant health and productivity, as outlined in the COGfx study, will be key drivers for the demand for new technology and buildings, and retrofits to existing structures. We hope to lead the way. At United Technologies, innovation and sustainability are cornerstones of our business and we strive every day to provide energy-efficient solutions through our products and services, in Asia and around the globe.

Lastly, you say that green buildings improve health and productivity, especially in office spaces. What benefits have employees seen when working in green-certified buildings?

Green buildings improve the cognitive function and productivity of their occupants. The COGfx study, from Harvard University and SUNY Upstate Medical University, with primary support from United Technologies, showed the doubling of cognitive test scores with the enhanced ventilation in green buildings. The energy cost of improving the indoor environmental quality is between 1 to 18 USD per person per year – the health and productivity benefits amount to 6,500 USD per person per year.

Employees in high-performing, green-certified buildings also showed 26% higher cognitive function test scores than occupants in similarly high-performing, non-certified buildings. In addition, the study found that employees reported 30% fewer sick building symptoms and 6% higher sleep quality scores. This indicates green building benefits may extend beyond the office. With minor improvements in a building’s indoor air quality, we see dramatic effects on the employees and the total costs of companies. More on the report findings here: The COGfx Study

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About John Mandyck

John Mandyck serves as Chief Sustainability Officer for United Technologies Corporation and chairs the Corporate Advisory Board of the World Green Building Council, and serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for the Urban Green Council in New York City. He is a member of the Corporate Council at the Harvard University Center for Health and the Global Environment. He was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to co-chair the Department of Energy’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee. Throughout his career, John has worked with governments, universities and organizations to accelerate environmental sustainability in an increasingly urbanizing world. He has presented energy efficiency, sustainability and future of food strategies to audiences around the globe. He blogs on sustainability issues at SustainabilityView.com and can be found on Twitter @JohnMandyck.

 

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