Purpose – This paper aims to examine the role of sustainable buildings in providing healthy workplaces in physical and perceptual terms.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a literature review, considering the history of sustainable development in the built environment and its rationale, then widening the scope to consider sustainable, healthy and productive workplaces.
Findings – Sustainable construction has focused on environmental sustainability but this may have contributed to improved health, satisfaction and wellbeing amongst building users. Sick building syndrome and poor indoor air are contributory factors to ill health and reduced productivity but this paper suggests that sustainable building practices will reduce these effects, improving the quality of buildings for their occupants.
Practical implications – This paper argues that building performance measures need to take account of people factors such as employee perceptions and also that the design of workplaces should be regarded as a strategy for productivity enhancement. Management issues should be considered in the design of workplaces. The paper concludes that further research is required into the role of sustainable construction in providing healthy buildings.
Originality/value – The paper makes practical suggestions for corporate real estate and facilities management teams as well as those involved in the design of the buildings. Additionally, it opens suggested avenues for further academic research.