Greenstar Is Not a Physical Activity Star: Findings of a Pre-Post Building Activity Study

Refereed Journal Article


Active Buildings


Dr Robyn Creagh, Professor Sarah McGann, Professor Marian Tye, Assoc. Prof. Jonine Jancey, Dr Courtney Babb



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This paper reports on research investigating the relationship between physical activity and workplace design. In particular, the paper explores the social-ecological context of a new workplace building. This paper seeks to understand why better physical activity outcomes for the staff were not observed in the new building despite: influence from a staff wellness committee during design, achieving well against existing best-practice indicators, and staff reporting increased feelings of wellness, energy and satisfaction with the new building. Three design aspects are taken as a focus from within an opportunistic pre/post physical activity study of an organisation as they move from a building they occupied for 30 years into a new purpose-designed building. This study was conducted through mixed methods, incorporating ethnographic, architectural and quantitative means. The social, spatial and personal context is important to understanding participant workplace-based physical activity. Despite the health and wellbeing goals and 5 Star Green Star outcomes of the new building, participants were sedentary for a substantive part of their workday in both buildings. A well-designed environment can support staff feeling healthier but the 5 Star Green Star rating does not implicitly ensure a healthier, activity-promoting environment. Facilities Managers and designers can act to provide physically active paths as the most straightforward circulation option in workplaces.

How to cite:

Creagh, R., S. McGann, M. Tye, J. Jancey, C. Babb. 2017. “Greenstar may not be an Activity Star: Findings of a Pre-Post Building Activity Study.” Facilities 35 (1): 81-98. doi:10.1108/F-12-2015-0092.