Wellness in Buildings
The environments in which we live, work, sleep and play have a big influence on our overall well-being. Our moods, energy levels, how well we sleep and how productive we are during the day are all impacted by the quality of the indoor spaces we inhabit.
Given we spend about 90% of our time indoors, and our physical environment impacts our health more than lifestyle, medical care and genetics, it’s no surprise that wellness in buildings is predicted to be the next trillion-dollar industry.
The International WELL Building Institute aims to lead the charge by transforming buildings and communities using the WELL building standard.
The standard is a rating system focused on the way buildings and everything in them run to enhance our health and wellness. It provides a framework for achieving building wellness and can be used to register any building, office or other space for accreditation. WELL works in conjunction with global green building rating systems like LEED and BREEAM to enhance and add another dynamic to building performance.
The steps to achieve certification are graduated making it accessible to a wide range of products. Even without formally certifying a building, there is a lot to be gained from introducing the concept of Wellness into your next project.
What indoor elements does building wellness consider?
Building wellness is a step beyond standard building control and governs a number of aspects of the internal environment including:
The World Health Organisation estimates that 12.7% of deaths could be prevented by improving air quality globally, with concentrations of some pollution indicators 2-5 times higher indoors compared to outdoors.
Wellness intervention aims to promote clean air and reduce or minimise the sources of indoor air pollution. This can be anything from the use of non-polluting building material through to demand-based ventilation and air filtration.
The benefits of effective hydration on cognitive performance and general health are widely recognised. While many of us take the quality of our drinking water for granted, much of it contains contaminants that can lead to a spectrum of health complaints.
The impact of building wellness is to provide cleaner, better tasting water throughout buildings by filtering out impurities.
At Ivory Egg we’ve been promoting the benefits of human centric lighting for some time. The timing, quality and duration of light exposure in our everyday environments have a huge influence on our health and wellbeing.
Light impacts our circadian rhythms; the natural body cycles which regulate our sleep and wake times among other physical processes.
Building wellness focuses on providing illumination cycles that minimise disruption to the body’s circadian system enhancing productivity, supporting sleep quality and keeping us in sync with nature.
Comfort factors including temperature, humidity and ergonomics contribute to sleep quality, productivity and general body discomfort.
Wellness considers thermal, acoustic and ergonomic comfort to optimise indoor environments.
A Community Background
Until recently the focus of environmental wellness has been on commercial environments such as offices, retail spaces, hotels and restaurants. Companies are enhancing the engagement and productivity of their employees by optimising indoor environmental conditions and implementing better building policies. They recognise that the return on investment of happier and healthier employees equates to long-term cost savings. These concepts and principles are as relevant in a residential environment though it may be a case of selecting the key aspects of the standards that will have the most impact.
CEDIA, the leading international home technology trade association is helping the industry to develop its understanding of wellness by launching the Wellness Pavilion at the CEDIA expo next week in Denver. Supported by Delos, one of the innovator behind the Wellness standard, the expo will feature wellness technology products and education from home technology pros and manufacturers to delve into what wellness means for the residential technology industry. We’re excited to see the developments around what we think will continue to be a burgeoning trend in the industry
The Role of KNX in the Building Wellness Revolution
Building wellness boils down to gathering data from the internal environment to either control it or ensure it continues to be healthy for its occupants. Being based on more than 25 years of building and environmental control, KNX provides the perfect platform for making building wellness achievable in everyday commercial and residential projects. Its scalability means it is one of the best systems for gathering environmental data across buildings of all sizes and the decentralised nature of the systems ensures it is reliable and cost effective.
Using KNX we want to support our integrators to add a layer of wellness intelligence to the smart home and building control dynamic, putting you at the cutting edge of building technology.