Wellness is the New Green

Wellness has become a very trendy term lately, particularly in the corporate space. In fact wellness is considered to be the new ‘green’ and is expected to be the next trillion dollar industry. For decades architects and engineers have been applying sustainable and energy efficient design features in an effort to create high performance buildings that use less energy and water. There is no doubt that these environmentally conscience designs are better for the planet and reduce ongoing costs, but usually there isn’t much thought put into the health of the building occupants beyond code requirements. People spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, which means the indoor environment can have a significant impact on one’s health. In the 1970s during the oil embargo, buildings were being designed to be more air tight and with less outdoor air ventilation in order to improve energy efficiency. This in turn created sick building syndrome, aka tight building syndrome, which is comprised of various nonspecific symptoms that are linked directly to poor building circulation and airborne contaminants. The ventilation rate of these types of buildings was reduced to 5 CFM per person. The standard rate for today’s office buildings is 20 CFM per person.

 

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