Several months ago I discussed the relevance of user-centered design to the successful design of sustainable products and services. Now a more concrete (literally) example of the intrinsic connection between human factors and green design.
Alan Hedge writes about The Sprouting of "Green" Ergonomics (PDF) in the December issue of the HF&ES Bulletin. Hedge reports on the new version of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Green Building Rating System, which includes specific guidelines and credits for creating an ergonomic environment.
The guidelines focus primarily on office workstation ergonomics (although industrial settings are touched on as well). For example, the LEED guidlines cover standards around display adjustability and glare, work surface dimensions, and chair adjustability. You can download relevant "green" ergonomic checklists from Cornell's ergonomic resource.
Adding ergonomics to LEED requirements seems like a natural extension to me - both are targeted at improving the health and comfort of individuals who work within buildings. There may also be some direct correlations between the more traditional LEED categories such as materials & resources, and ergonomics. For instance, a poorly fitted workstation may be more readily replaced than one chosen appropriately - thereby leading to increased materials use.
Hedge also makes the point that the new LEED guidelines will change perceptions about office ergonomics - from a reactive, problem-solving model in most cases, to a proactive problem-avoiding approach as it is intended.