FORWARD THROUGH FEEDBACK
Public health is gaining increasing attention worldwide. Yet one important aspect of it is still largely disregarded – the impact of buildings on the health and well-being of people who spend 90 percent of their time indoors.
Sir Winston Churchill already acknowledged that just as we shape our buildings, buildings shape us. This also has economic consequences; for every euro spent by company on the construction of an office building, five euros are spent on operating costs during the life cycle of the building – and 95 euros on the salaries of the people who work in the building. The well-being and productivity of the workforce are thus major assets, which crucially depend on the quality of the spaces.
Buildings are there to be used; their success largely depends on what happens after their construction or renovation. Yet the data and knowledge about the actual building performance is not yet available in the planning and acquisition phase. As a consequence, clients are often unsure what specifically to ask for. What experiences can be applied to inform future decisions in building design and engineering? Which tools are available to ensure that a building is beneficial to its users?
You can’t manage what you can’t measure – this business advise by the U.S. economist Peter Drucker is the heart of Daylight/Architecture 29. In three major chapters, the magazine explores how we can move forward through feedback.
The first chapter presents some of the science around buildings and their impact on human beings in a light and accessible way. Here the Danish cartoonist Halfdan Pisket has staged a fictitious dialogue between a building user and the space around him. Together they discuss how, according to Winston Churchill, buildings ‘shape’ their users in terms of health, physical well-being and emotions.
Then follows an overview of the planning schemes and evaluation methods that building owners and planners can use to design and document building performance. Some schemes focus mainly on the design and construction of buildings, while others also include building monitoring and user surveys during occupancy. We believe that such a reality check is essential if buildings are to fulfil the promises of their clients and the expectations of their users. In addition, vital lessons can be leant from building evaluation, which will increase the quality of the construction industry in the long term.
With science and theory in place, and the necessary tools at hand, the third chapter of this issue shows 15 buildings in which the indoor climate, air quality and occupant satisfaction have been verified during operation. We cannot yet derive benchmarks from these examples, but we hope that they will encourage building professionals and their clients to demand feedback and learn from it. This is a key tool to release the huge social and economic benefits in healthier buildings.
Enjoy the read!
The VELUX Group