The most common distinction attributed to green buildings is that they have a lower impact on the environment when compared to conventional buildings. Even though that is true and a major element of their design, it is not the end of the story. As a matter of fact, they also provide benefits that relate to human health too. Studies suggest that certain components of green buildings have an impact in increased productivity and less absenteeism in office workplaces, shorter lengths of stay and lower doses of medication in hospitals, and improved concentration and better performance in schools. One of those studies, performed by the Internal Well Building Institute, attributed a 22% of increase in organizational performance to certain buildings that incorporated specific measures towards the wellbeing of the occupants.

Currently all third party certifications have their own requirements in regard to health, among some of the measures that could be found are the following:

    • Requirements of low VOC content in paints and other materials
    • Daylighting
    • Biophilia
    • Balanced ventilation for clean, fresh air circulating the building at all times

Raising the bar even higher, there have been recent efforts to focus on the overall wellbeing of occupants by certification systems that focus primarily on the matter of health, which is the case of the WELL Building Standard. Some of the unique features of this system that set it apart from others would be the following:

    • Nourishment through the encouragement of healthy eating habits, behavioral cues, and knowledge about nutrient quality
    • Water quality optimization through contaminant removal, filtration, and treatment strategies
    • Mental and emotional health support by providing occupants with feedback and knowledge about their environment through design elements, relaxation spaces, and state-of-the-art technologies

Becoming aware of the ways in which buildings can have an impact on occupants in the area of health is the starting point towards preventing spaces from becoming antagonistic to their intended use as well as making them part of the solution amidst scenarios of social interaction like the one we are currently experiencing.

VCA Green provides a variety of third party consultation services related to this subject. If you are interested in learning more about the options in providing health-fostering buildings, please contact Moe Fakih below.

Contributing Writer: Alejandro Gamas

Moe Fakih, Principal
714-363-4700 x 501