Designing offices with “WELLNESS” as the next-generation keyword

Scroll Down

A survey of office environment design among office tenants found that 73% of them put importance on interior environments. That underlines the fact that 67% of them see shortage of workers as a risk. The aim until now has been to produce high-quality, uniform office space with small amounts of energy, but offices now are expected to adapt to changing workstyles, and allow office workers to work in good health and with high intellectual productivity. That background has prompted the development of “WELL Building Standard”, in Japan and overseas. It is an era of change, so that interior environments, which are important from the wellness perspective, are now being designed comprehensively, to incorporate numerous factors, such as radiation, air quality, humidity, and colors, with the aim of providing diverse environments.



WELLNESS will change the architectural space design

It has been calculated that if office utility costs are set as “1”, rent is “10”, and worker salaries are “100.” That means that an office designed with worker health in mind has a high added value. It has also become clear that the design of interior environments has a major impact on intellectual productivity. Against that background, the WELL Building Standard was developed to assess “offices which are comfortable and good for the health of the people who inhabit the building”. The seven assessment items are air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Compared to previous building assessment indices, WELL places more emphasis on management principles and workers’ diverse behaviors.
In Wellness design, it is important to have a deep understanding of human physiology, as well as of changing of workstyles. People in the latest offices use cafes as work spaces, and there are napping rooms where people can refresh themselves by taking a nap. The optimum interior environment must be offered in each of these diverse spaces, based on human physiology. To that end, environmental control of aspects such as humidity, radiation, color, and odor, becomes necessary, in addition to the kind of design that has previously emphasized air temperature and brightness. For example, in hospital rooms which use radiant cooling, measurement has confirmed that needless body movement during sleep, due to air conditioner drafts, has almost completely ceased.

Radiant Heating and Cooling Is a Keyword for WELLNESS

From the perspective of wellness, it is important for thermal loads on the human body to be small. Radiant cooling controls the surface temperatures of the walls, ceilings, and floors that surround the human body. That method can form a superior thermal environment, which imposes little thermal burden on the body. Research cases have been presented in which body exergy is smallest (i.e. the load on the body is small) in a thermal environment where MRT (Mean Radiant Temperature) is 2°C lower than air temperature.
It may somehow make occupants feel hot and stressed when the thermal environment is too still. In some cases, radiant cooling has been adopted that controls a slight and subtle air flow, to provide a feeling of coolness and to lower stress.

The TABS (Thermal Active Building System) has been proposed as a system for cooling concrete structural frames at night and then using their radiant cooling to handle interior loads during the day. TABS uses the heat capacity of the structural frame, so it can be used as a demand response tool, making it possible to cut the capacity of heat sources. The large surface area of the concrete structural frame can be used as radiant surfaces, which makes it possible to build low-cost radiant cooling systems.

Ordinary air conditioning requires chilled water at around 7°C, but radiant cooling can function with chilled water at around 17°C. Well water, which is cool even in summer, is a good fit with radiant cooling, and circulating well water through radiant panels can provide cooling from natural energy. When a high-quality interior environment is achieved using systems that use the potential of nature, that feels good for the occupants.

Air Effectively Humidified within 30cm from Personal Humidifier

Local humidity control has been a challenge in office spaces. This project suggests to add humidity control on personal air conditioners in addition to heat and airflow to cover personal humidity preferences.
>Enlarge the image
>Naoko Noguchi

Enriching Air with Indoor Foliage

The impacts of indoor foliage on interior environments include effects from transpiration and air cleaning effects, in addition to the visual effects. As the effects vary according to the types of trees, appropriate selection of trees may have positive health impacts.
>Enlarge the image
>Yuriko Anzawa

5% Working Hour Decrease by Staggered Time

The quantitative findings from the trial of staggered time arrangement were: reduced fatigue, increment of vitality, health promotion and good work-life balance.
>Enlarge the image
>Masatoshi Kuboki

Portable Radiation Screen

This project proposes a thin, screen-type radiant heating and cooling device, which is easy, handy and foldable when not in use. The material and thickness are carefully simulated and selected.
>Enlarge the image
>Keishiro Tachi

What Happens in Low Humidity Environment?

Low humidity has various impacts on the human body. Humidity control is essential for creating high-quality interior environments. Drying is also influenced by air flow, so humidity and air flow must be considered together.
>Enlarge the image
>Yuriko Anzawa

Relaxing Colors and Stimulating Colors

The psychological effects (e.g. relax and excitement) of colors were experimented and orange and purple were voted as relaxing colors. The spread of LED, which is compact and highly controllable, enables lighting environment designed with human physiology and psychology.
>Enlarge the image
>Tasuku Watanuki

The Ultimate Personal Wearable Heating and Cooling

“Wearable” is the ultimate form of heating and cooling to adaptively cover differences in individual physical sizes and activity levels. This project examines the stresses on the body and how to fit with architectural spaces.
>Enlarge the image
>Takuro Fujii
>Yasuhiro Tabata

VDT Brightness for Computer Eye Strain Relief

Appropriately adjusting monitor brightness to suit the brightness of the environment can reduce the burden on the eyes. In this experiment, the brightness contrast between task surface (paper) and VDT screen was the smallest when the VDT screen output was 30 to 40% under ambient illuminance of 360 lx. 
>Enlarge the image
>Hiroshi Tamura

Ventilation Control by Odor

Ventilation control by measured odor can save energy while improving the interior environment. The project team is considering to incorporate odor sensors on conventional CO2 sensors.
>Enlarge the image
>Satoshi Terashima
>Junko Yamamoto

Measuring Relaxation at the Fingertips

This project aims to quantify and lessen stresses in indoor environment by measuring finger pulse waves and electrocardiogram to assess the balance and function of autonomic nervous system. In this experiment, the trends of relaxation and vitality when a subject moved from a space with conventional air conditioning to radiant cooling was examined.
>Enlarge the image
>Yasuhiro Tabata

Fatigue Due to Office Furniture

Office furniture is designed for average sized adult males, although furniture size for appropriate working posture differs by individual body sizes. Adjustable height desks and free-address workplace are recommended.
>Enlarge the image 
>Kouichiro Hara

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to the use of cookies. Our cookie policy.