And you only just caught up on the eco-friendly building fad… Now we have to build buildings that aren’t trying to kill their occupants, too?? In a survey of 140 corporate facility executives last fall by Structure Tone, 92% described wellness features as “essential, mainstream or an emerging need” for buildings occupied by their employees.
Indoor Air Quality
Recent studies have found that improving the air quality in office spaces can improve productivity by a startling amount. As a result, many businesses are revamping their existing spaces or building new spaces with HVAC systems that take air quality into account. Being able to design, market and install these types of systems will be a big business boost for architects, general contractors and HVAC techs in the coming years.
Healthy Construction Materials (Material Disclosure)
So this one is related to the health of the occupants, but also the health of the contractors who install them. It’s not always easy to get manufacturers to disclose the makeup of their materials, especially proprietary or patented materials. The demand for disclosure has been increasing and seems to be hitting a peek. In 2018, material transparency is becoming a standard and will allow consumers and contractors to make informed choices in selecting green building materials that are better for the environment and the people building and occupying a space.
Cited as one of the most important issues facing building occupants, contractors, and designers will be incorporating more natural lighting and lighting fixture. More natural and effective lighting in design layouts has the propensity to improve occupant energy levels, productivity, and overall mood.
Outdoor Space and Natural Exposure
Another way to cultivate mental and emotional wellbeing of building occupants is incorporating outdoor space and natural elements. The benefit of office plants is well researched, so take it to the next level by opening up to the outdoors or bringing nature inside. I’ve shared my enthusiasm for vertical forests in the past and in offices you can incorporate the little brother of the vertical forest: the living wall. The living wall doesn’t just look pretty, but also improves air quality and occupant morale and productivity. A landscape architect or carpenter (or a team of them) that can construct one of these is opening him or herself up to a whole new market.
With conscientiousness about employee and resident health on the rise, a contractor that can break into this market is going to do his or her business a favor by providing expertise in a new and growing field.