Buildings In Use
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Sustainable building operations for satisfied users

The Alnatura Arbeitswelt in Darmstadt, Germany

Anyone wanting to future-proof their building operations and ensure they are focussed on climate protection must take a number of aspects into account, e.g. emissions caused, cost or location related risks – AND the needs of the users. Despite all ecological and economic considerations, it is important to maintain a holistic perspective. The DGNB System for Buildings in Use takes all of this this into account. It also considers three sociocultural and functional criteria, which we present in more detail in this blog, the final one in our blog series.

We all spend a large amount of our lives in buildings. It is therefore self-explanatory that people and their health and well-being needs, must be a part of every consideration and every important decision regarding the use of a building.

Nine criteria for sustainable building operation

Nine criteria for sustainable building operation

Environments for well-being

The comfort of our interior spaces is of particular relevance for the well-being of a building’s users. Do we have temperatures, humidity and air quality that are perceived as pleasant? If we succeed in getting these conditions right, it will not only increase well-being but also the performance of the people in the buildings.

Target values in the criterion “Indoor comfort” can be based on general benchmarks. However, the perception of the users themselves should also be taken into account by carrying out surveys and active complaint management. Initial projects have already proven that a corresponding sense of well-being and climate neutrality can go hand in hand. At the Eisbärhaus in Kirchheim unter Teck the air quality is, according to architect Bankwitz, so good that allergy sufferers are symptom-free. Such quality ensures the long-term value retention and marketability of real estate. As with many other criteria, the key is to make a start, actively focus on the topic at hand, set goals and to realise the optimisation.

Paths to user happiness

Communication and interaction between all parties involved, is also central to high-quality and smooth building operations. On the one hand, a regular exchange of information ensures that there are fewer conflicting goals when optimising operations. It also gives users a sense of being kept informed and that their needs are heard, which can have a positive impact on their day-to-day actions. The associated criterion in the DGNB System for Buildings in Use is “User Satisfaction”.

This system also positively assesses if there are suitable provision for basic needs such as family friendliness, barrier-free access or personal health in and around the building. The options that building owners and operators can make available here are manifold: breastfeeding and nappy-changing rooms, cooperation with day care centres, barrier-free use for as many areas of the building as possible, ergonomic furniture or workshops on nutrition and sports topics. Such offers ensure satisfied building users in the long term. The aim here is not to implement as many measures as possible. The criterion basically rewards those who plan and implement meaningful measures that make sense in respect of the building’s context.

Flexible and sustainable from A to B

Finally, in the context of certification, offers around mobility are relevant from a sociocultural and functional point of view. Their quality is a decisive factor for people. If various alternatives are available, each individual can decide, which means of transport to choose, dependent on his or her own needs and the distance travelled. If eco-friendly alternatives are available, mobility not only contributes to user satisfaction, but also to an increase in environmental quality and a reduction in the negative effects of motorised private transport.

Sharing options for bicycles are also a way of making mobility more flexible.

Sharing options for bicycles are also a way of making mobility more flexible.

The options available here are many and varied. Charging points for electric vehicles are an obvious choice, due to being very topical. But the DGNB System for Buildings in Use also rewards the provision of easily accessible parking facilities for bicycles, rollators and electric scooters. Programmes for supporting the use of public transport and sharing offers are also useful for users and the environment. As with all certification criteria, optimisation begins with the first step.

Systematically preparing for the future

The DGNB System for Buildings in Use addresses all of these aspects. It provides useful orientation in focusing on taking tangible action, acting as a change and management tool and offering systematic support with your continuous improvement programmes. Click here for more detailed information on the DGNB System for Buildings in Use.

Click here for the first article in the series, focussed on environmental criteria and here for our blog on economic aspects.

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