The results are in…
‘Reap What You Sow: Valuing Workplaces that Grow Good Ideas’ is the culmination of a year-long research project which explains the process of measuring and monetising the well-being and environmental value of biophilic design in corporate spaces.
Biophilic design can take the form of green walls, pot plants, skylights, water features or wood furniture. These features add value to the workplace; not only through improving air quality and aesthetics, but also tangibly impacting on employee health, creativity, productivity and satisfaction. Given employees are the largest cost for a business, the report explores to what extent biophilic design can save companies money by ensuring that staff are healthier and happier at work.
The report also highlights the importance of integrating biophilia into the architectural design process early and earmarking investment for it, so that the mechancial, electrical, and plumbing of the building can accommodate the plant life. Plants affect building conditions like humidity and air flow, therefore these conditions need to be accounted for.
An eight-week pilot study was conducted in PLP Architecture’s London studio, where employees worked in three different environments with varying degrees of views out and indoor greenery. The study used both qualitative and quantitative means to monitor the participants’ well-being and environmental quality during each scenario. Qualitative methods included questionnaires and interviews. Quantitative data on air quality, heart rate, steps, sleep quality, noise level, and EEG (brain waves) was collected through sensors and wearable technology.
A financial proxy was applied to the data collected from the post-occupancy evaluation, demonstrating the long-term value and potential of the well-being economy in monetary terms for stakeholders such as investors and developers.
Clear differences were found between the different degrees of biophilic workspace. The immersive scenario, with extensive views out and indoor greenery, understandably had the highest capital investment which paid off with the highest monetary gains in terms of well-being and environmental value. The immersive scenario was valued at approximately £28,288 and the typical scenario was valued at £23,440, this is stark compared to the £11,627 valuation of the existing space.
Measuring biophilic design in monetary terms enables designers and architects to make a business case for biophilic design, and enables investors, developers and occupiers to understand the long-term value and potential of the well-being economy. Not only this, the methodology used to measure the value of biophilic design can easily be translated to evaluate the value of other healthy and sustainable design choices.
We are delighted with the findings of this study which includes an incredible 200% increase in well-being and environmental value compared to a normal workspace! We hope these results will be of great value in influencing the future of our offices and will encourage key decision makers to start thinking about biophilic design from the very start of their projects.
*Attention all design enthusiasts!*
We are thrilled to announce that due to the overwhelming level of interest in this research project, we will be hosting a one-day-only event with the authors themselves. This exclusive occasion will provide a unique opportunity to engage in an insightful discussion panel and participate in an open day filled with exciting activities and demonstrations.
Don’t miss out on this chance to gain invaluable knowledge from the experts and delve into the world of biophilic design. Click here to find out more and register your interest in attending this extraordinary event.
Limited spaces available, so act fast!
Read the publication in full here
Watch ‘Reap What You Sow’ – a short film
*British Council for Offices (BCO) financed an earlier pilot study on the use of wearables to collect meaningful data from office workers. This previous research informed the study on the measurement and value of biophilic design.