Biophilia and Biophilic Design

How can I integrate biophilic design and biophilia into my home?

There are several simple design changes easily made in workspaces and homes. Call us biased, but the easiest, quickest, and most cost-efficient way is the addition of plants into your environment. Natural light, plants and vegetation, living walls, natural textures and materials, and views of nature will all provide a positive impact.

Does the presence of nature in the work space improve productivity?

Yes.  There are multiple studies showing a positive relationship between the presence of nature in the workplace and employee wellness and productivity. The design think tank Human Spaces reports employees working in environments with natural elements like plants and sunlight have a 15 percent higher level of well-being. This translates into a six percent increase in productivity and a 15 percent increase in creativity. Think about what a six percent efficiency increase would mean in your business. Imagine one creative idea that turns into the next Uber or Tesla or even Scrub Daddy (look it up). What would you be willing to invest to get there?

How is biophilic design applied to interior spaces?

According to biophilic design thought leaders. architect Elizabeth Calabrese, AIA, LEEP AP, and the late Dr. Stephen Kellert, biophilic design strategies fit into one of three major experiences: direct experience of nature, indirect experience of nature, and experience of space and place. There are 24 individual attributes of biophilic design. They include: Direct experience: contact with green elements such as plants, views of nature, water, and natural airflow. Indirect experience: the use of natural materials such as wood or natural fabrics like cotton and wool, exposure to images of nature in artwork, natural shapes and forms Experience of space and place: prospect and refuse, integration of parts to whole, cultural and ecological attachment to place

What is the Living Building Challenge?

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment. It uses the metaphor of a flower because the ideal built environment should function as cleanly and efficiently as a flower. The Living Building Challenge is organized into seven performance areas called Petals: place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity, and beauty. Living Buildings are among the healthiest and most efficient in the world. Learn more at the International Living Future Institute website.

Does the WELL Building Standard® include plants?

Each of the WELL Building Standard’s seven design conditions require plants to fulfill the biophilia requirement present in the certification process.  For example, placing plants and greenery covering a minimum of one percent of the building’s floor area per floor is part of the requirements. Also, installing a living wall, which either covers the largest available single wall, or multiple living walls with one per each building floor, meets the certification guidelines. Plants can be incorporated in a prominent way in the interior design, or added for subtler effects.

What is biophilic design?

Biophilic design, whether in architecture or interior design, seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. Biophilic designed buildings incorporate things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements for creating a more productive and healthy built environment for people. Natural light, vegetation, living walls, natural textures and materials and nature views will provide a positive impact.

What is biophilia? How are plants involved in biophilia?

The concept of Biophilia suggests an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems.  Biophilia is the science exploring the human connection to nature and all living things. The biophilic connection to plants is recognized by the U.S. Green Building Association and can earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) credits. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studied professor Stephen R. Kellert has devoted his career to studying biophilia. In his book, Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Building to Life, he discusses a study of the application of biophilia to the Bank of America headquarters in New York:  “They were able to find significant productivity gains, less absenteeism, less health problems, a better sense of well-being as reported by the individuals that participated.… Read More

What is the difference between the WELL Building Standard® and LEED certification?

Where LEED is concerned with building sustainability and operations,, the WELL Building Standard ® focuses on the wellbeing of the building’s occupants themselves, the people. It starts with the LEED indoor air quality standard, then adds ratings for factors affecting people: natural light, access to windows, physical space and planning, comfort, and even access to nutrition. The WELL Building Standard tells us about the impact of a building on human beings.

What is the WELL Building Standard®?

The WELL Building Standard® addresses seven categories of architecture and design conditions which enhance the health and well-being of occupants: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. At its core is the concept of biophilia and biophilic design, the recognition of the human connection to nature and the positive effects of nature on our health and wellness. It looks at everything from the amount of exposure to natural light, to color palettes, to the food offered in a company cafeteria, to the presence of nature in a building in the form of living plants. Indoor potted plants and vertical gardens or walls are specifically called for as part of the certification standards.… Read More