What a week...

Wow, what a week it was with the folks from GIGA in London to launch RESET in the UK.  We are just coming down from the excitement here at Verdextra.  

Monday 6th March saw the announcement that the WELL Building Standard was now aligned with the RESET real-time air quality monitoring standards, ensuring seamless integration for those wanting to embed RESET into their health & wellbeing strategy. [Full press release here]

Monday evening saw the launch of RESET in the UK, with a full house at our host's ARUP.  A great evening of information and discussion, and we are proud to be partnering with GIGA to bring end-to-end RESET services to the UK and Europe.  The slides that Raefer Wallis presented are available on our website here.

Tuesday saw another critical press release, announcing that key, global institutions - including the BRE, IWBI and Australian GBC - would be collaborating to embed the RESET monitor standards into a number of international standards. [Full press release here]

Wednesday, of course, was health & wellbeing focus at EcoBuild, with the UK GBC hosting and chairing a number of key seminars.  

And Thursday saw our first cohort of RESET Accredited Solutions Providers (ASP) being trained.  A day of mind-stretching, brain-bending and learning all around. A day full of philosophy, science, technology and process!  Sign up to join us here, the next session is on 11 May. 

We made it to Friday, albeit a little frazzled, for meetings with some key real estate service providers who are keen to roll out RESET across their national platform in the UK. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us during the week, particularly our hosts ARUP,  and other collaborators too many to count.  Now to take a deep breath of clean air before tackling the rather lengthy To Do list we put together.  Join us on the journey by signing up to our newsletter here http://eepurl.com/cx5DN1 

Fad or Fact? Health & Wellbeing in the Real Estate sector

For once, I am going to come down hard on one side of this question: FACT.  But before we get to the science part, let us zoom far out to the earliest ‘modern’ civilisations.  The most cursory of glances at building design in the ancient world, both private and public, will quickly reveal that the use of space, light and ventilation was a key factor.  A virtual walk around a few Egyptian temples, Greek markets or Roman villas will soon demonstrate the fundamental impact these factors had on their inhabitants and visitors.

So when we zoom fast forward to a society where our every step and meal is now trackable, one might wonder why it has taken the science part so long to catch up.  To be fair, the medical evidence on the impact of many 'health & wellbeing' factors on the human species is not new but it is only now that scientists are beginning to dig into the bowels of our working lives to better understand quite what we are doing to ourselves.  In the most positive interpretation, this could even be part of a global movement towards more individual responsibility for our bodies in general, and what we put into and around them specifically.

The evidence base is growing around us daily: the WHO reports of critical levels of pollution in our cities and the longer term, fatal impact on our populations.  Obesity abounds all around. Depression and mental health issues are at an all-time high.  Combined with the relatively new ability to both discuss, share and track every waking and sleeping moment in our lives, the more appropriate question is perhaps: Why would you not want to improve your workspace as much as your home? If we have a health sensor on our wrist or sitting room table, why would we not have one on our desk? It is not as though we change biorhythms somewhere between home and the office. 

The confluence of evidence, affordable technology and wider, demographic trends has brought this theme barrelling into the real estate sector.  To respond, practitioners must deploy the corresponding combination of evidence and experience:

  • Human Resources -  bringing focus back onto a company’s most valuable and expensive asset, its workforce
  • Building Design -  both external and internal architecture and fitouts need to embed personal and personnel requirements into the project from the very
  • Physical Parameters – from ancient times, the environment’s impact on our species has been well-documented.  In the 21st Century, a growing evidence base now underpins this knowledge and provides a basis for healthier operating
  • Evidence-based decisions – the medical community is now converging with the real estate sector to provide empirical evidence on which to base decisions. Measuring, monitoring and managing is now possible in a way that it has never been before. 

At its heart, the focus on health & wellbeing should re-balance building design and operation onto the end user, whether this is a residential, retail or office space.  With over 50% of the global population living in cities, building users are naturally starting to look to their homes and workplaces to protect them from the detrimental effects of our modern lives.

Fad? Doesn't look like it.

Fact? For sure, and it looks like it is here to stay.