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World first biophilic design research project connects buildings with nature

A live office refurbishment will provide environmental and human data as evidence for positive health and wellbeing impacts on office occupants

BRE are today launching The Biophilic Office project – a ground-breaking office refurbishment project that will provide quantified evidence on the benefits of biophilic design on health, well-being and productivity of office occupants.

The project centres on a 650m2 1980s office building on the BRE campus in Watford, which will be refurbished according to biophilic design principles.

BRE are partnering with designer Oliver Heath, who will lead on the design element of the refurbished building.

A host of founding core partners are involved to bring their industry expertise into the project. These are:

  • Interface – global manufacturer of modular flooring
  • Biotecture – designer & supplier of living wall systems
  • Akzo Nobel – global paints and coatings company
  • Plessey – innovative lighting and ECG sensing technologies
  • Royal Ahrend – professional work environments, furniture products and services
  • Coelux – innovative skylights to reproduce natural light
  • Ecophon – acoustic products and systems for working environments
  • GVA – real estate & project management solutions

Each of the partners will be using the office and its test facilities in the project to evaluate their products’ role in promoting the health and wellbeing of office occupants and for wider biophilic design.

 “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” says Ed Suttie, Research Director at BRE.

“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.”

This comprehensive and long-term study is unique in terms of scale and data capture. It will provide a firm foundation for guidance and adoption of measures in the facilities management and refurbishment sectors to promote health and wellbeing in offices.

A design strategy will be developed including tiers of interventions in zones within the office. The products used will also undergo laboratory evaluation to establish whether a health and wellbeing potential can be quantified at product level.

More information on the project can be found at www.bregroup.com/biophilic

On Twitter @BRE_Group #biophilicoffice

ENDS

Media Enquiries: For more information contact Ana Paun, ana.paun@bregroup.com

Notes for Editors

  1. About BRE: We are a world leading building science centre and the authority on all aspects of the built environment. We generate new knowledge through research that is used to create products, tools and standards that drive positive change across the built environment. We enable our government and private sector clients to meet the environmental, social and economic challenges they face by delivering higher performing, better quality, safer, more secure and more sustainable products homes, buildings and communities. We are owned by the BRE Trust, a registered charity, which funds research and education that advances knowledge of the built environment.  We are committed to building a better world together. bregroup.com

 

  1. Biophilic Design: Biophilia (meaning a love of nature) focuses on a human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes. American biologist and researcher Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularised this hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984) defining this as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. Biophilic design uses these ideas as principles to create a human centred approach that when applied improves many of the spaces that we live and work in today.

 

  1. Dissemination Partners: A number of organisations have also committed to becoming dissemination partners for ‘The Biophilic Office’. This includes: Construction Products Association (CPA), Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), Constructing Excellence (CE), European Federation of Interior Landscape Groups (eFIG), Innovation Gateway, British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) and a range of media organisations. These bodies will disseminate findings to members and wider networks in the construction and property sector.