Health and wellness are predicted to be the next trillion-dollar industry. Many medical doctors and employers are still unaware of the benefits of creating environments that enhance wellbeing and recovery.
Examples of factors influencing health and wellbeing (partial listing):
Active design: Numerous design measures can be incorporated into buildings and their surroundings to increase physical activity. The design of physical space greatly impacts public health.
Air quality: Indoor air quality (IAQ) can significantly influence health and wellbeing. Most individuals spend 90% of their time indoors. Poor IAQ costs Europe alone €80 billion in healthcare costs.
Causes can include: Poorly specified building materials; cleaning products, flooring; furnishings; office equipment; and standard paints. Pollutants include: carbon dioxide; ozone; ultrafine particles; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); and pathogens. There are numerous benefits in improving IAQ by design.
Connection with Nature: Absenteeism can be 10% lower in buildings connected to Nature. Presenteeism (mental disconnection at work) too is reduced under such situations. Faster patient recuperation is also indicated, greatly cutting waiting times and running costs. There are numerous advantages in working with Nature.
Daylight: Exposure to daylight when indoors is biologically beneficial, reduces absenteeism, shortens patient stay in hospital and reduces the need for painkiller medication. Daylight when correctly used can also reduce likelihood of infection.
EMF exposures: Research indicates electromagnetic pollution can affect health and wellbeing in a growing number of individuals. It can also increase inhalation of harmful submicron pollutants within individual microenvironments. More biologically beneficial exposures can be created.
Infection prevention: Drug resistant infections are predicted to kill more than 10 million yearly by 2050 (at an annual cost of $100 trillion USD) unless appropriate action is taken. There are many ways the environment can be re-designed to reduce such risk.
Materials and equipment specification: The types of materials and technologies specified (and where they are located) can greatly influence the levels of pollutants individuals are exposed to. Addressing such matters can create significant benefits and increase ‘brand value’.
Working with Nature’s cues and guidelines to create more biologically sustainable environments can create huge dividends in terms of health and wellbeing.