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Building for wellbeing – new developments in responsible building

Building for wellbeing – new developments in responsible building

13 Jun 22:00 by Jason Thornhill

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Air quality has been in the headlines a lot in recent years which has inevitably thrown a spotlight on the HVAC industry, presenting new challenges and opportunities.

As we discussed in our article Why the Clean Air Strategy is a huge opportunity for the HVAC industry air conditioning manufacturers have responded to this new focus by developing equipment that optimises air quality.  Innovation has been very much centred around supporting architects who want to build healthier buildings.

Now, with wider adoption of the Well Building Standard, HVAC manufacturers are bracing themselves for even more change and a renewed drive towards responsible and sustainable design.

The Well Building Standard is an evidence-based system for measuring a building’s impact on the health and wellbeing of its occupants. Originating in the US, it aims to give buildings a wellness score based on their impact on physical and mental health.  

The rating looks at a huge range of factors, including light, comfort and even accessibility to good nutrition and there are implications for both new and existing HVAC systems.

A growing number of projects are now required to engage with the Well Building Standard but even those that are not will still be expected to consider the health and wellbeing elements of any equipment chosen for inclusion in the scheme.

This follows research by the European Commission which found that people spend up to 90% of their time inside buildings, either at home, work or school. Little wonder then that there is so much attention being paid to the quality of the air inside the buildings we spend so much time in. Further studies have also shown that where air quality is good, there is a noticeable uplift in productivity.

Architects, facilities managers, building companies and HVAC designers are all more aware than ever before of the need for a responsible approach to planning ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems that support good health.

Wellbeing is no longer considered as an afterthought – it is a key focus and one that is driving innovation throughout the HVAC industry.