Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
It is easy to assume that the success of a building lies purely in how cost-effectively it is built, meaning that the IEQ of a building is often overlooked.
Proven statistics demonstrate that healthy, comfortable employees are more satisfied and more productive, which in turn leads to lower costs as employees work harder as well as the fact that there’s not such a battle with absenteeism and sick leave.
That sad truth is that we are spending an increasing proportion of our lives indoors. With easier and quicker access to most things from within our homes, the average person spends 92% of their time indoors on a weekly basis, so survey results tell.
This highlights the importance of ensuring IEQ factors are included at the outset of building plans. IEQ consists of measures such as:
Thermal comfort, Indoor air quality, including control of airborne contaminants and adequate ventilation, adequate daylight and lighting levels, acoustic conditions and humidity.
By thinking about IEQ and proactively addressing ‘wellness’ in the design and construction of our buildings, we are helping to create more valuable assets, protect occupants from illness, increase productivity, and potentially improve retention or absenteeism rates in workplaces, all of which have a positive impact on the business bottom line.
Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn to reflect nature. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
Why we care about biophilia in building design:
Firstly, it is becoming increasingly well demonstrated that biophilic elements have real, measurable benefits relative to such human performance metrics as productivity, emotional well-being, stress reduction, learning, and healing.
And secondly, from an environmental standpoint, biophilic features foster an appreciation of nature, which, in turn, should lead to greater protection of natural areas, eliminate pollution, and maintain a clean environment.
The most clearly demonstrated benefits of biophilia are related to health and healing – even the historical record reflects that the potential for biophilic features to produce positive, measurable outcomes on human health and healing has been understood for centuries.
Exposure to nature also appears to reduce pain , and this is through different types of mechanisms, including distraction and stress reduction.
Additionally, when contact with nature involves exposure to natural light or sunlight, yet another pain-reduction mechanism may come into play as sunlight exposure elevates concentrations of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that inhibits pain pathways in the central nervous system.