Faced with the issue of climate change and the changing expectations of office users, the real estate sector has a new task on its hands. This involves not only designing buildings sustainably, but also creating healthy environments for people. We have reached a turning point, where health and well- being have arguably become the most important components of architecture.
Following the trends, more and more employers are transforming their office spaces by creating offices that are technologically advanced, as well as pro-health, safe and user-friendly.
Numerous publications, offering multiple evidence, prove that office design has a real, tangible impact on the health, comfort and productivity of office users. Research also shows that ‚sick buildings’ have a significant impact on the respiratory, immune, digestive and cardiovascular systems of those who pass through them.
The relationship between the various systems of the human body and the technical aspects of a building is most often addressed in the WELL Building Standard certification, or via the implementation of individual points from LEED or BREEAM. All the leading certification systems, however, seek to, directly or indirectly, improve health and well-being – furthermore, the WELL Building Standard and the WELL Health-Safety Rating System, are entirely dedicated to this task.
Initially, sustainable architecture was defined by parameters relating to energy efficiency, waste management and potable water quality and use. This was complemented by indoor air quality considerations, which widened the remit to include the indoor environment. Over time, the interdependence between the quality of the indoor environment and the health and well-being of the building user has been recognised. This translates into real, measurable costs, as it is the employees themselves who generate the value and largest costs for most companies (employment costs, i.e. employee salaries and benefits, are estimated to be around 90% of operating costs on average). Consequently, it is concern for the health of employees and the creation of conditions that improve their productivity that make the greatest potential financial difference to the employer.
The concept of Healthy Sustainable Architecture assumes that the human is the most important element in architectural and urban design. The form of development, finishing materials, modern technical solutions and space organisation employed are all tools that shape the built environment and affect its health and well-being.
More information you can find the “A city in good shape. Trends that are changing cities” report.