6 July 2017 | Marino Donati
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) is examining the benefits of biophilic design in offices.
The construction and built environment consultancy said its project would provide quantified evidence on the benefits of biophilic design, which connects buildings with nature, on health, well-being and the productivity of office occupants.
The research will involve refurbishing a 650 square-metre 1980s office building on the BRE's Watford campus according to biophilic design principles and then collecting environmental and human data.
Biophilic design uses the notion of people's innate attraction to nature and natural processes to improve spaces that they live and work in by providing things such as more greenery and natural light.
Architect and interior designer Oliver Heath will lead on the design element of the refurbished building. Other partners involved in the refurbishment will test facilities in the office to evaluate their products' roles in promoting the health and well-being of office occupants and for wider biophilic design.
The office will be monitored before and after refurbishment, evaluating daylight, lighting, indoor air quality, acoustic, thermal and humidity comfort.
Wearable technology will monitor the health of occupants who will undergo confidential health evaluations and complete online questionnaires and surveys.
BRE said the scale and data capture of the project was unique and that it would provide guidance for adopting measures in the facilities management and refurbishment sectors to promote health and well-being in offices.
BRE research director Ed Suttie said: "The project will show how quantified improvements in productivity and wellness can bring rewards for landlords, occupiers, developers and all those concerned with the office and wider built environment."