The implementation of a little greenery into an office design can have some truly astounding benefits, as we’ve discussed in the past. What has yet to be properly quantified however is the extent to which plant life helps in terms of wellbeing and productivity in the office.

This is exactly the question which a new refurbishment study conducted in partnership by Biotecture, Building Research Establishment (BRE) and architect/interior designer Oliver Heath is aiming to put to rest. Together, the team will fully refurbish a 650 square-metre 1980s office building on the BRE campus in Watford as part of the Biophilic Office Project. The newly-renovated office will then serve as a live study, examining the true extent to which biophilic design principles impact upon the workforce residing within.

An example of a living interior green wall designed by Biotecture   - Img: BRE
BRE research director Ed Suttie said of the refurbishment and subsequent study: “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.

“Researchers will carry out a baseline year of pre-refurbishment and a year of post-refurbishment monitoring, evaluating the office environment for daylight, lighting, indoor air quality, acoustic, thermal and humidity comfort. Office occupants will undergo confidential health evaluations, and sign up to a series of online questionnaires and surveys. They will use wearable technology to monitor key health metrics.”

The team are hoping that the results of the current study will aid those in relevant industries in ensuring the provision of an optimal working environment for their staff/clients, particularly in regards to health and wellbeing.

Biotecture managing director Richard Sabin commented, “Staff are the key asset to any business. We spend approximately 50% of our total waking hours at work during any given business day. This underlines the importance which must be placed on enriching the working environment.

“A core philosophy of the project is to provide practical guidance and new evidence-based outtakes for architects, specifiers, contractors and real estate owners to implement in mainstream office design and refurbishment. This project will be significant in shaping thinking about reintegrating nature into our everyday lives.”

At the conclusion of the study, all products used within will be subject to laboratory evaluation in order to establish whether a health and wellbeing potential can be quantified at product level.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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