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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The current issue of Facilities presents research papers on aspects of sustainability, energy consumption, and the workplace. Topics discussed in this issue include the following: energy consumption trends in healthcare facilities, air quality and pollutants in office buildings, elements that attract businesses and employees to adopt co-working place models, consumers’ perceptions about environmental protection, challenges in implementing the EU nearly Zero Energy Buildings decree, and users’ perceptions of convenience with respect to recycling.
Healthcare facilities are among the highest in energy use per area. These facilities tend to lag behind the majority of the industry in seeking sustainable certifications, which is due, in part, to their primary mission being prioritization of care over sustainability. A paper by Sagha Zadeh, Xuan, and Shepley aims to study energy consumption trends in healthcare facilities by identifying challenges and constraints in achieving sustainable operations. This is accomplished by examining data from the Energy Information Administration, the USA Green Building Council, and from interviews conducted with sustainable design professionals. The information presented in this paper may provide designers with a list of major issues to consider regarding sustainable design of healthcare buildings, and possible implementation solutions to these challenges.
Air quality in office buildings is a major concern faced by a large number of facility managers all over the world. A paper by Pitarma, Lourenco, and Ramos seeks to simulate pollution distribution patterns in ventilated rooms while varying the location of the pollution source in order to use the results for improved occupational health. The authors conducted a computational fluid dynamics analysis (computer run simulation) to model dispersal patterns of known pollutants in ventilated areas, and verifying the simulation results with experimental data. This paper shows that variability of indoor air quality with respect to pollutant location highlights the importance of properly planned room layout, planned pollutant location, and the significance of designing proper ventilation systems.
New working conditions referred to as “co-working places” have become commonplace in numerous industries due to globalization and advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Co-working places are conceptualized on ideologies of flexibility, increased productivity, quality interaction, as well as a reduction of the environmental impact. A paper by Kojo and Nenonen studies the nature of these environments and the type of businesses and employees they attract. Their study observed 15 co-working places in the busiest areas of Finland, for which data was collected through interviews. By doing so, they identify distinct features and typologies of co-working environments, and the types of businesses and employees that gravitate towards such models. This study can be used to gain a better understanding of the co-working environment so as to provide better business value and customer service.
As the green property management approach is not yet visible, a paper by Hui, Yu, and Tse highlights the impact of various environmental management schemes on select property management groups in Hong Kong. Three districts with 16 residential estates were chosen to carry out this study, which contains a mixture of private and public residential units and industrial property. Applying the Hedonic price model that reflects the constituent characteristic values, variables were measured using correlation and regression techniques. The general variables investigated in this paper were physical, environmental, and location-related attributes. The study draws attention to the changing impressions that consumers have about environmental protection, and cites a trend toward tenants placing higher value than ever before on aspects of sustainable construction and to property management practices that are environmentally-friendly.
A paper by Kantola and Saari aims to identify, analyze and evaluate the risks involved in transitioning from current building practices to the EU nZEB (nearly Zero Energy Buildings) decree. This, in turn, may inform industry partners about the challenges faced by the Finnish construction industry in its implementation of the nZEB decree. The research team organized a workshop, which was comprised of 17 industry professionals who are familiar with green construction. In addition, they orchestrated a series of brain-storming sessions and executed the Delphi method with small groups of participants. These meetings generated lists of possible risks associated with nZEB implementation, as well as potential solutions to these conceivable risks. Since the transition to the new regulations is mandatory, a paper such as this one may provide designers and construction professionals information about possible pitfalls, and offers ways to handle such situations.
The main objective of a paper by Siu and Xiao is to explore personal perceptions of convenience with respect to recycling. This may provide us with insights that can affect the design and implementation of recycling facilities and programs. A qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews, field observations, and ethnographic research, was constructed to capture the social tendencies and recycling habits of different households in two different districts in Hong Kong. It was found that personal preferences and attitudes regarding recycling convenience varied significantly among respondents; however, some generalizations were apparent, for example, most people’s opinion of “conveniently located” differed from that of policy makers. The authors of this paper offer several recommendations that may enhance Hong Kong’s recycling program, and at the same time, encourage recycling through incentive programs and “pay-as-you-throw” programs.