Healthy buildings for Healthy People
Environmental healthiness poses a problem that can be faced by two main standpoints: the quality of buildings and people’s health.
Assessing the value of built environment, customers look for buildings that have superior performances. Occupant’s well-being is emerging among all the metrics (healthiness, comfort, user experience).
Benchmarking agencies already consider this metric. An example is the “Health & Well-being” module of the Dutch agency GRESB, recently integrated into the GRESB Real Estate Assessment 2019. Environmental well-being is therefore an increasingly important requirement, which goes beyond mere adherence to environmental hygiene standards.
The ‘health performance pyramid’ by Dusan Licina appeared in Ashrae Journal on April 2019 and summarises the different approaches to environmental health. Conventional buildings, which also adhere to the standards in force, are a starting point and not a goal.
The experience of the occupants and the performance of the buildings can be greatly improved with proactive and integrative actions, which are becoming best practices in the transformation of indoor spaces. According to the cited publication, moreover, today there is still a much higher emphasis on energy consumption, rather then on the indoor environmental quality: analysing 100 Green Buildings, 80% of them have achieved energy saving goals, but only 30 % reports high levels of indoor air quality.