You may say “what is this all about”,
If you are serious about achieving a Platinum, Gold Plus, Gold or 7 Star level of Energy Efficiency Rating for your project then you need to take a holistic view when setting your project goals. In other words you cannot take isolated or individual elements on their own and hope you will somehow stumble on to the magic formula, there is none. There is no singular magic bullet or formula for achieving a high EER or highly sustainable project. You need to consider all the key items and their interdependence and relationship and impact on each other to achieve your desired outcome.
If you are a property developer, building owner, tenant, architect, builder, or related profession it is almost certain you will have a genuine interest in the well-being of occupants of the project you are about to create, design or build. You will be interested in the psychological, physiological, and mental health of all building user groups, tenants, employees, and visitors. As a result, you will want to implement some if not all of the design considerations mentioned in this chapter of the Book.
Firstly, it is important you understand that by adopting this approach to design you will be making a substantial contribution to the built environment and economy resulting in measurable benefits to you and the community.
An interpretation of the words “well-being” in the context of building design can be translated to mean ‘love of everything living,” that is the relationship between people and the environment in which we co-exist.
As we all know there are many design related considerations and components which when combined unite to provide this holistic view of architecture or building design.
By introducing nature into design and giving special consideration to space planning and the built forms we can substantially “value add” project and environmental outcomes both internally and externally. This can be done by considering the inclusion or introduction of for example greenery, vegetation, water, flora fragrances, day lighting and careful selection of artificial lighting, quality of air, sound effects, choice of materials and aesthetic finishes for the structural and interior design elements of you project.
Here are some examples of how these initiatives may be implemented:
When developing or drafting the project design brief Introduce green walls, planting and planter boxes, roof top flora and vegetable gardens, running water features water walls, pools, fish ponds preferably derived from harvesting and re-use of rainwater, careful selection of lighting and pictures or photographs, sounds such as birds chirping and running water, sun and daylight penetration, and careful selection of glazing. Another major contributor is where the built space overlooks gardens or green open space or water elements such as waterfalls, sea, rivers, streams, rolling country side, and the like and even planted roof tops of neighbouring or adjoining buildings or hard paved areas.
All of the above suggestions assist greatly in promoting or providing an immediate connection between humans and nature with immediate responses in terms of improved well being.
Some of these suggestions are inexpensive to implement if considered at the correct time in the project life cycle, that being the project initiation stage and inn particular when documenting the client or owner’s design brief.
High impact design decisions at a lower cost can be achieved by doing this, don’t leave it till the design is in a more advanced stage, as it will cost more to implement, and the advantage of starting with a clean canvas will be lost.