Building Research Establishment and Biotecture partner on groundbreaking biophilic office study

BRE, Biotecture and architect and interior designer Oliver Heath are working on an office refurbishment which will be used as live study of the benefits of biophilic design.

Biotecture has designed an inside green wall for the project. Image: BRE
Biotecture has designed an inside green wall for the project. Image: BRE

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

Green wall manufacturer Biotecture joins a number of other suppliers, who will gather data on the health, well-being and productivity of workers in the office.

BRE research director Ed Suttie said: "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."

It is hoped the comprehensive and long-term study 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.

Biotecture managing director Richard Sabin said: "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."

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.

Visit the BRE Group website for more information about the project. 


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