BRE has unveiled plans for a pilot project to measure the real-world health and well-being of building occupants by creating the Healthy Research Building – the UK’s first operational workplace research environment.
The project will see BRE refurbish an existing office building at its Watford HQ to create a fully operational office that will enable occupants to be monitored whilst they work.
BRE will be researching the impact of indoor environments on human health and well-being whilst generating evidence-based information that can be used in practical ways to create healthier indoor spaces.
It follows the announcement that the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and BRE are pursuing alignments between the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and BREEAM that will make it easier for projects pursuing both standards.
The building, currently home to 60 members of staff, will be reconfigured into BRE’s Healthy Research Building and will form part of the company’s Innovation Park.
The refurbishment will pursue BREEAM and WELL certifications and once work has been completed staff will be allowed to freely use the office whilst being monitored using advanced sensor technology and remote monitoring.
Data relating to the health and well-being of the staff will then be analysed to provide a greater understanding of how products, materials and internal configurations affect occupants.
“It has been claimed that we spend over 90% of our time indoors and in an office environment, 90% of the cost is the people inside,” commented Martin Townsend, Director of Sustainability at BRE Global. “It is therefore vital that we better understand the effects that indoor environments are having on their occupants. By refurbishing one of our offices to achieve BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard and integrating state-of-the-art monitoring technology we will be creating the UK’s first living laboratory.”
In addition to creating the Healthy Research Building, BRE is asking the industry to help participate in the project through the undertaking of specific product testing to ascertain the impacts on occupant health and well-being.
Continues Martin. “To ensure we actively undertake the research that the industry needs we’re calling on the industry to work with us on an industry supported health and well-being research programme.”