Simon Turner, CEO and Managing Director, Western Region for Healthy Buildings and Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, partner and office president of “Little” focus on what we mean by the term, “Healthy Building. This video is the first in a series of videos taken from an interview, the full version of which is available as an audio podcast. To hear the complete audio version, click here. Simon focuses on buildings from the structural and equipment perspective while Carolyn focuses upon the way humans react to their environment and surroundings, which includes the buildings that they work in.
To Simon, a healthy building is an efficient building. Simon thinks of the buildings that we work in as a “machine” which helps work on behalf of the humans that sit, walk, run and work inside it. It’s supposed to be an asset, both from an accounting perspective and a production perspective.
Carolyn, adds the perspective that the humans, inside the building must be working in a way that is most efficient and productive. As Simon says, the building must contribute to that efficiency and productivity.
I agree with both. As a machine, I think of a building, no differently than a car. If I need to get to and from work or use the car for work, it needs to get me from one place to another timely and cost effectively. If I’m stuck in traffic all the time, if it breaks down often or there is a leak in the bottom of the car allowing Co2 to filter into the car, I am going to replace it………….if I survive.
Carolyn adds that, from an architect’s perspective, a “Healthy Building is something that helps humans operate at their highest potential”. Isn’t that what all tools are meant to be?
“The essential components of a healthy building are those things that help our bodies respond to our environment in ways that are healthy for us.” ~ Carolyn Richard-Brideau.
Carolyn discusses “Salutogenic Design”, which Wikipedia defines as “….an approach focusing on factors that support human health and well-being, rather than on factors that cause disease. More specifically, the “salutogenic model” is concerned with the relationship between health, stress, and coping.” In the full interview, this becomes more obvious to the discussion. The focus is on how to make the glass half full rather than half empty. Yes, we shouldn’t ignore building factors that can make us sick, but we can add focus on those things that can make us healthier and more productive.
The components can include natural daylighting, connections to nature, live plants, clean and fresh air, temperature control & thermal comfort as well as those things that help us get up and more active in buildings. All those things that have a beneficial impact on human health.
The assumption is that the better we feel, the more likely we will be productive.