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Human-centred and healthy buildings

Over here in the UK, most of you will be getting ready to set up the out of office reply and close down your laptops for a long weekend. The articles I’ve gathered this week are all about how workplace design can help you to get more done – and save energy too. Most of the research out there is based on the expectation that your work place is a place you go to to work, paid for by the organisation who pays your wages. But of course increasingly neither of those are really true: more and more knowledge workers are freelance or consultants – and even those who do take home a salary are likely to work at least two days per week from home. 

This review from the team in Delft suggests that office design could help to prevent burn-out simply by providing working conditions that help to balance the ‘demand vs. resources’ equation that tips us over the edge – The relationship between interior office space and employee health and well-being – a literature review

This well-argued and thought-provoking position paper by the wonderful Professor Philomena Bluyssen of Technische Universiteit Delft, points out that how comfortable we feel in a space is defined by a combination of factors including external stressors that have very little to do with the building itself. She explains why current ‘dose-dependent’ standards that isolate one sensory modality are failing to provide a useful framework for specifying healthy buildings, citing fascinating research from classrooms that suggest that multi sensory integration takes place at the level of the central nervous system. She concludes with an alternative model for the next generation of intelligent, human-centred buildings. – Towards an integrated analysis of the indoor environmental factors and its effects on occupants

This excellent review points out that there is plenty of data to support the energy-efficiency argument for ‘smart building’ controls but rather less reliable evidence of the upsides for human health and well-being – in part due to a lack of benchmarking and post-occupancy testing. It calls for a rethink of ‘green building’ certification to offer a ‘win-win’ for people and for planet – which will ultimately be good for the planet. – The future of IEQ in green building certifications

This brilliant Wiki points out that the people who work in buildings aren’t stupid or wantonly destructive.
They’re just not nearly as interested in set points and energy use as the building owners are – and that it’s time for those who design ‘smart buildings to design controls for those who need to use them – The problems with smart buildings

A bit of trivia to celebrate the Jubilee… in 1953, French physicist Andre Bernanose and colleagues identified electroluminescence, laying the foundation for the OLED! Electroluminescence description from Wikipedia. In another Jubilee-related piece of trivia… the luminous flux of platinum was used for many years to define the standard unit of photometry, the Candela… here’s how! “The candela is the luminous intensity, in the perpendicular direction, of a surface of 1/600 000 square metre of a black body at the temperature of freezing platinum under a pressure of 101 325 newtons per square metre” If that doesn’t get your neighbours inviting you to the pub quiz I don’t know what will! – Platinum and the Standard of Light

Top three…

Finally, dead chuffed to announce that my TedX talk- how lighting designed for the space station can help us to be healthier and happier here on earth – was selected by Ted to be on the main platform – only 13% are chosen for that honour. The talk has now reached over 85,000 views and was number 3 in the TEDx Chart for Most Watched TEDx Talks in the world Released in May 2022 on YouTube! Please do watch and share the talk if you can – the more people watch, the more difference we can make 😉 Link is here. 

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