Healthy architecture in the Post-Covid era
The lockdown brought about by the pandemic over the course of the past year brought to light something that is by no means new, but has often gone unnoticed until now: how enclosed spaces, whether they be residential, work or leisure spaces where we spend more than 90% of our time, have a direct impact on our day-to-day health and well-being.
Just as buildings influence the fight against climate change, as they are responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions, urban environments also play a key role in the health of buildings. Aspects such as lighting, accessibility, air conditioning, thermal and acoustic insulation, pollutants produced by some construction materials or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) give rise to the so-called Sick Building Syndrome, defined by the WHO in 1982 as “the group of diseases caused or stimulated by air pollution in these enclosed spaces”.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, architecture has taken on greater importance with regard to the well-being of its users, through open, flexible, acoustically insulated, well-lit and ventilated spaces, with high-quality materials and equipped with the most advanced technology and hygiene measures. In addition to less quantifiable aspects but still with a strong influence on health, such as those related to the incorporation of colour or vegetation to improve the state of mind in enclosed spaces, or the use of antibacterial surfaces and textiles capable of eliminating harmful substances from the environment.
The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has been researching how to build healthy cities and buildings for years through its WELL Certification. A dynamic rating system for buildings and communities that identifies, measures and monitors the characteristics of built spaces that impact the health and well-being of their occupants, directly influencing their levels of concentration and productivity.
Since October 2019, when the corporate headquarters of the Actiu Technology Park in Castalla became the world's fifth complex, Europe's second and Spain's first to be awarded the WELL v2 Platine certificate, and the first industrial building in the world to hold both LEED and WELL Platinum certifications, Actiu has continued to focus on the health and well-being of its workers.
The headquarters, which is currently among the 10 European buildings to hold the WELL v2 Platinum certification, has also recently implemented Gaia by Actiu®, a smart platform that allows for aspects such as temperature, humidity, sound, light, occupancy rate, air quality and PM 2.5 and PM 10 suspended particles to be measured and monitored.
The WELL v2 standard certification process developed by Actiu at its Castalla headquarters also led to the Best Practice award for the best Facility Management 2020 project awarded by IFMA Spain. A Well philosophy that highlights the importance of creating workspaces that foster well-being and that the company also passes on to its customers, through its own experience as well as flexible, sustainable and healthy products that help transform their workspaces.
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