28 March 2017
The role of architects in designing healthy buildings
With the proper use of materials - walls and ceilings - one can create bright comfortable spaces for building users.
Given that people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, it is important to consider the effects that this can have on our health and productivity.
Since the “Sick Building Syndrome” days of the 1980s, where employees experienced discomfort attributed to their indoor environment, attention has been given to improve how people experience the workplace.
In a recent study highlighting important trends within the building industry. Dodge Data & Analytics’ Smart Market Report, “The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016,” identified access to daylight as a key feature for healthier buildings , and 60% of survey respondents identified it as a feature that will remain on the healthy building agenda in the near future.
Let the light in
In offices, access to natural daylight has shown to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and lead to financial savings.
While daylight is a great means to reduce dependency upon electrical lighting, it also can create beautiful effects that both catch the eye and promote well-being.
There are several ways that an architect can optimize design and building orientation to capture natural light, but it is sometimes not always enough, requiring the use of the interior to help draw light inside.
With the use of materials that provide high light reflection and light diffusion, one can increase the level of daylight available in a particular room or space. To avoid too much glare, which can be troubling for the eye, it also is recommended to use products with a matt surface to help bolster visual comfort.
Creating visual comfort
Although the use of natural light can help reduce energy costs, its positive effect on indoor climate and visual comfort should not be overlooked. With the proper use of materials, walls and ceilings, one can create bright comfortable spaces for building users.
Dodge Data & Analytics; “Smart Market Report – The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings 2016: Tactical Intelligence to Transform Building Design and Construction,” Pages 6, 11; 2016; https://analyticsstore.construction.com/smartmarket-reports/HealthierBuildings16SMR.html
Edwards, L. and Torcellini, P.; “A Literature Review of the Effects of Natural Light on Building Occupants,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory; 2002; https://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/15000841-KDGMXg/native/
Schielke, T.; “Light Matters: 7 Ways Daylight Can Make Design More Sustainable,” ArchDaily; 2014; http://www.archdaily.com/471249/light-matters-7-ways-daylight-can-make-design-more-sustainable
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