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What makes a healthy building? 


June 2017

April’s Healthy Buildings Conference, organised by BRE and Evora, made a compelling case for improving the health and well-being of existing commercial buildings.  With recent studies, like the Steelcase Global Report illustrating a high correlation between workplace satisfaction and employee engagement, it’s clear that improvements in this area could play an important role in an organisation’s engagement strategy. 

 

But, what makes a healthy building?  What metrics can we use to measure improvements?  What kinds of proof-points will be most credible and enable investment? 

 

We are considering these questions and invite you to share your feedback (by the end of June) via our Healthy Buildings Survey.  It should only take about 5 minutes to complete. 

 

In her ‘Lighting’s Role in a Healthy Building’  presentation, Philips Lighting Researcher, Bianca van der Zande defined office worker well-being as a ‘state of physical and mental ease which allows us to feel free from constraint and which enables us to direct our attention to the things that matter most.’

 

Within this context, light has three clear roles:  functional, emotional and biological.  The functional role of light is clear - light allows us to experience the world around us, to see the smallest details, gauge depth and experience colours.  Less well known is that light also shapes the environment and as such influences how we perceive spaces. The same space could either look gloomy and depressing, or bright and energizing depending on the choice of lighting. The perceived message may affect our mood, motivation and behaviour. 

One of the most exciting areas of development has concerned the effect of light on our circadian (daily) cycles. Progress has accelerated since 2000, when researchers discovered a new type of photoreceptor in the eyes, one which powerfully regulates our sleep/wake cycle. Via this photoreceptor, light resets our body clock, which prompts our body and organs to carry out their required functions at any time of day. 

 

While there’s still more to learn and document, it’s clear that lighting can play a powerful role in improving the workplace environment and engaging employees.   

 

To find out more, please watch Bianca’s presentation, ‘Lighting’s Role in a Healthy Building’, from the Healthy Building Conference or to share your thoughts, please complete our Healthy Buildings Survey.

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