Biophilic design does more than provide human beings with a sense of nature. By bringing the light and life of nature into cities and buildings, developers create healthier environments for our bodies, minds, and communities.
Plants clean the air we breathe. Moving water and natural light cycles can help us relax and maintain our circadian rhythms. We are healthier when nature’s forms and textures surround us. Our environment is healthier when we incorporate the natural world into our development plans.
What Is Biophilic Design?
Biophilia is defined as the love of nature and life, the love of living things. Human beings are part of the natural world, but we often forget this connection. When we are surrounded by concrete and asphalt rather than trees and soil, we suffer mentally and physically. Our planet suffers too.
Biophilic concepts in design include bringing the vibrant colors and patterns of nature into our everyday environment and incorporating natural light and plantings into our living spaces.
Biophilic structures do more than make us feel at home, however. These buildings help achieve the goals of sustainable development as well. Benefits include improving individual standards of living, strengthening communities, and promoting the health of the environment.
What Are the Health Benefits of Biophilic Design?
There are significant scientific advantages to bringing natural elements into our living spaces and considering the health of the planet as we build our homes and workspaces. Plants and light are of particular benefit to a healthy human environment. Designing around nature, for example, by leaving green areas open, is beneficial to the planet.
The Science Behind Incorporating Plants
Plants are natural air purifiers. The more living greenery that we can weave into our environments, the healthier our air becomes.
- Plants convert carbon dioxide. Mammals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants are our perfect counterparts, as they take in carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the air.
- Plants absorb toxic fumes. Larger plants are capable of absorbing volatile organic compounds or VOCs from the air and rendering them harmless to human lungs. VOCs include many forms of carbon emissions as well as gasses from paint and other chemicals.
- Essential elements of biophilic design, plants increase humidity in dry indoor air. Having proper moisture levels in the air you breathe prevents irritation of the sinuses and throat caused by dry air and can even reduce your risk of infection. One large potted plant can release as much as a quart of water into the air in 24 hours.
Benefits of Light and Community Spaces
Natural light and open spaces provide measurable benefits as well. Sunlight is one of the most effective disinfectants we have. Sunshine helps plants grow and thrive and kills germs by direct exposure, both in the air and on surfaces.
Open communal spaces, particularly when filled with natural light and living plants, are community builders. These are areas where people naturally relax and want to spend time, inviting social interaction. Open, sun-filled areas can also be used to raise communal food plots or flower gardens, further enhancing a shared community experience.
Are There Social Benefits of Biophilic Design?
In a broader application such as an apartment complex or a city block, for example, planning for the inclusion of natural features can be even more transformative. In 2015, the United Nations defined 17 goals for sustainable development. These goals strive to reduce poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. They coordinate perfectly with biophilic building concepts and the socially responsible principles of ESG development.
By consciously considering how to incorporate biophilic design into a development project, builders can improve the lives and health of the individuals who will reside in the buildings. They also improve the immediate environment, including the air quality, for the community. They create sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint of the project, and they protect and promote responsible preservation of natural resources as well.
On a social level, improving the health of everyone in the development and providing shared spaces and experiences builds stronger communities. A shared green space can reduce violent crime. Human beings connect with nature and each other when they have access to the natural world.
How Can You Promote Biophilic Design?
The benefits of including the natural world as part of structural design are plentiful. Developers can achieve clean air and sustainable buildings combined with safer, more equitable, and healthier communities.
The goals of ESG and biophilic design work in perfect tandem to create better housing and more responsible environmental outcomes. Contact ESG Property Consultants today for more information on how you can incorporate these natural elements in your next development project.