Building design can often forget that buildings are for people. Many designs focus on other factors such as energy use, which while being an important issue, energy only accounts for 1% of typical office business running costs; a significantly smaller amount that the 90% of costs associated with staff.
Building layout often pays too little attention to the wellbeing of their occupants, ignoring the potential impacts on their mental, social and physical health, and therefore missing opportunities to lever better business outcomes.
The critical importance of the internal build environment’s impacts on people – particularly their health and wellbeing – is not widely recognized and an increasing focus of concern. However, while some innovative new office buildings are now being designed around their occupant’s health needs – maximizing natural light, clean air and so on – this is not the reality for the great majority of office workers. They work in existing buildings, the owners and managers of which have limited budgets and a need to ensure a return on investment. Hard evidence for the benefits of biophilic design is needed if are to be convinced that investing in refurbishments that prioritise the wellbeing of building users will enhance their business.