"Indoor air quality must be one of the most valuable features of buildings when it comes to building customer loyalty


"Indoor air quality must be one of the most valuable features of buildings when it comes to building customer loyalty

We interviewed Tomás Higuero, CEO of Aire Limpio, to tell us about the Air responsible project we are carrying out together, which aims to provide healthy and sustainable work spaces with optimum air quality in the offices. 

How do you value the fact that companies like Colonial are committed to projects like Aire Limpio, whose objective is to offer workplaces with optimum air quality?

I think it's a great initiative because health, and specifically indoor air quality, is an increasingly necessary element. Furthermore, as COVID has made clear, our health is inevitably linked to the space where we spend the most time. For this reason, in the very near future, I believe that indoor air quality should be one of the characteristics of buildings that should be most highly valued in order to build customer loyalty or attract customers. I also think that this is a very intelligent positioning on the part of Colonial. You cannot talk about high or medium quality office buildings without taking special account of the quality of the indoor air.

To what extent does good air quality in the workplace affect the health of employees?

This is a topic that is well documented. A reduction in pollutants improves health in a very intense and direct way. The result is fewer people with or improved respiratory conditions, better cardiovascular health, as well as a reduction in the number of cancers. It is proven that less general pollution (outside air) has a direct impact on a very important reduction of hospitalisations and mortality.

Recently it has been proven that in environments with less pollution and better ventilation, certain cognitive functions such as reaction to crises, concentration, creative thinking, etc... are much more fluid and better. All this replicated in the working environment means a lot of money in increased productivity, i.e. an office building with high quality indoor air has a positive impact on the main line of expenditure of a company, its salaries. 

If we add to the health benefits and lower absenteeism the benefits in terms of increased productivity, it is clear that this is an issue that will be of great interest to office occupants.

Health in the offices is more important than ever in the current situation. What benefits do you think those companies will obtain, which like Colonial, have been betting on these values of sustainability and health for years? 

I understand that capturing the values of health and quality for a brand is extremely important in today's market. I know that Colonial is very aware of this issue. I think that in the medium term the division between conventional assets and those buildings that incorporate health and sustainability practices will be much deeper. The market will penalize, the COVID will accelerate this process, those properties that do not have a proposal that incorporates very intense health and sustainability practices.

The same will happen upstream, investors will discriminate and will tend to support companies with clear objectives and metrics in relation to ESG. 

Do you think that in the current health context, and the chronic pollution in large cities, the sustainability of offices is already a non-negotiable value? 

I think there is no going back, and that was the case before COVID. On the other hand, the logical decline in sustainability, and this was already happening, will be to integrate sustainability and health and wellbeing. Energy saving cannot be considered at the expense of human health and comfort. 

We live in a very complex and highly intertwined world, yet if the COVID crisis has made anything clear, it is that our health really matters a great deal to us. In fact, it is one of the keys to our social, economic and family architecture.

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