4 Reasons Your Company Should Utilize Biophilic Building Design
By Jeff Brain | November 04, 2015
While the concept of biophilia is not a new concept, originating in 1984, there has been a recent movement toward biophilic building design. This means that the design incorporates elements of nature—water, plants, sunlight, etc.—because humans are biologically attuned to it, and this provides a range of benefits for both business and people.
Design Promotes Human Health
When a facility is constructed following principles of biophilic building design, it has a positive effect on the occupants’ health. This is especially important in buildings such as hospitals and assisted living facilities. Exposure to natural environments is shown to decrease stress, aiding in medical recovery times. On the other hand, clean air and natural sunlight can be helpful in preventing, or minimizing the effects of a wide range of ailments. These range from insomnia to osteoporosis to multiple sclerosis, and a several autoimmune diseases.
Helps Optimize Workforce
Incorporating natural daylighting alone into a commercial or industrial facility can decrease employee sick days by 6.5%. This, however, is not the only way in which biophilia leads to improved productivity. Natural light, as well as proximity to scenes of nature, improves employees’ moods and as a result increases workers’ output. The combination of these two factors can generate a measurable increase in productivity, saving a facility thousands of dollars—if not more—every year.
Uses Natural Renewable Resources
One of the most essential benefits of biophilic building design is that it makes use of natural resources. Plants naturally filter and refresh indoor air, and skylights provide free lighting from sun up to sundown. It is especially important to turn to free and natural alternatives, because 67% of electricity in the U.S. is produced by burning fossil fuels. Converting a building to use biophilic design elements not only has benefits for the buildings’ occupants, but can markedly reduce its carbon footprint.
Reduces Building Energy Consumption
While moving your facility over to a more biophilic building design is often accompanied by high initial costs, it can provide incredible benefits in terms of reduced energy consumption. For example, adding features such as plants and water will cool the interior of a building, reduce HVAC use, and features like green roofs help regulate the interior temperature. Skylights also help reduce energy costs by eliminating the need for electric lighting while the sun is up. This can decrease energy usage for lighting by 50-80%.