The IBM offices at Brussels Leopold Square (BLS) has become the first Bio-Balance building in Europe. In fact, it is the first time that the gold certificate is given here. Two years ago the IBM Real Estate Site Operations (RESO) started working with Metatecta – the enterprise in charge of this project- to carry out the necessary actions to achieve a building in BioBalance.
In all buildings where a large number of employees work together, there is a risk that the air quality degrades due to pollutants such as mold, bacteria and the like. The traditional approach is to fight against this by using aggressive products, like disinfectants and toxic chemicals. This may result harmful residues in the environment.
The IBM edifice needed several requirements to become a building in BioBalance. First of all, it needs a healthy and hygienic indoor environment and the biodiversity must be respected. The use of aggressive and toxic chemicals and disinfectants in the building needs to be stopped. Finally, the building uses BioBalance management system as a strategic Corporate Social Responsibility tool.
But it is not an easy job; actually, there are three steps to follow to obtain a ‘building in BioBalance’:
1. The first phase is an analysis of the building looking for the biological, chemical and physical hazards.
2. The second is to identify and monitor the Critical Control Points (CCP).
3. The last step is to manage these risks by using Tectobiotics. The Tectobiotics are positive organisms which will keep clean the indoor environment. These organisms also will create biodiversity in and around buildings. They come from the nature and are classified as risk class 1, which means that they are harmless to humans, animals and the environment.
The results of this examination are translated into a better environment at work and a return of human capital. Thanks to this improvement in the IBM building, the productivity of the employees is going up and the absenteeism rate is going down.
Smarter Planet and Smarter buildings
Following the Smarter Planet strategy of IBM, Smarter Buildings are not just data sources; they also have to communicate intelligently with the externalities around them. Smarter buildings are designed to run more efficiently and, more important, to communicate with and about their various systems. Workforce is a part of these systems too. For this reason, it is very importance to get the better environment to work in.
In fact, IBM has also a corporate policy which takes care about the Responsibility for Employee Well-Being and Product Safety. This policy includes an important subject about having a Global Workplace Safety. “Advancing the health, safety and well-being of our global workforce is an absolute priority; it’s a commitment that encompasses the environments in which employees work and the communities in which they live”. Martín J. Sepúlveda, M.D. FACP, IBM Fellow, Vice President Integrated Health Services.