BRE has launched 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 architect and interior 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.