by Sarah Jane Visnick
Workplaces have always been designed with productivity in mind, but what about human health, energy efficiency, and corporate culture? Humans spend 90% of their lives indoors, a fact which compels designers to ask, “How do we make the interior experience the best one possible?” Synergies between LEED and the WELL Building Standard highlight the journey to built environments which are innately good for both the environment and the end users.
Over the course of a building’s lifespan, 92% of costs are estimated to be focused on personnel. Payroll long out-costs initial construction expenses, as well as daily maintenance and operations. Designers have the ability to alter the workplace experience by specifying materials with lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air ventilation systems which filter out pollutants, lights that provide proper levels to reduce eye strain, and furnishings and finishes that manage acoustics.
Providing office space which not only maintains a safe baseline, but actually encourages health and wellness, increases employee productivity, satisfaction and retention.
As displayed in Visnick & Caulfield’s recent project for Parexel, which achieved LEED Silver, energy efficiency and corporate culture easily go hand in hand. Spaces for spontaneous collaboration allow for employees to interact genuinely with one another, all while harnessing natural light and using efficient fixtures. The open office space features a white noise machine, an acoustic technique approved by WELL to increase productivity and comfort. VCA also took extra measures to specify materials with low VOCs, which increases air quality for employees.
While WELL focuses on people and LEED focuses on planet, they combine to create the workplace of the future: a comfortable, productive, healthy place which cultivates happier employees.
Sarah Jane Visnick, WELL AP and LEED, is an associate at Visnick & Caulfield.