ASSESSMENT: Towards Better Sustainability

AssessingEnvironments.jpg

The final step is to link sense of place with the historical view of sustainability. This means implementing all three pillars of sustainability.

 

There are three main phases for this transition

 

1

As we mentioned in Chapter 1 the economic pillar has taken centre stage, however we need to also include the environment and the social aspects.

  • From a social perspective it is imperative to bring in the elements of sense of place together with already well established sustainable practices.

  • From an environment perspective there is a very direct link between good environmental practices and sense of place. Specifically in mitigating against environmental stressors. For example, in the King’s Cross case study, cleaning up the waterways is not just good for the environment, it is also good for the people.

  • The final piece to the social pillar is wellbeing. Centric Lab’s working definition compiled from other sources (1) is as follows; wellbeing is a constantly adaptive process by which we aim to reach physical and mental homeostasis or equilibrium. Homeostasis is maintained by using mental, social and physical resources to react to mental, social, and physical challenges presented to us by our environment. For example, if we get a cold (physical) we will use our immune system (physical) and psychological resilience (mental) to help combat the cold and bring you back to physical homeostasis. When individuals have more challenges than resources, they will experience a dip in their homeostasis, leading to more long term complications such as loneliness, depression, etc.  

    • We are linking wellbeing rather than productivity for two reasons.

      1. Wellbeing is more of a biological phenomena thus making it more measurable for assessments.

  • In the 20th century measuring productivity was far more straightforward, you could measure how many envelopes a person had stuffed and to what quality.However, productivity in 21st terms is too ephemerial. It is very complex thus we cannot isolate what factor would contribute to a successful negotiation or the writing of a report. Therefore the role of the building is to keep people mentally and physically healthy.

2

The next phase is to provide the industry from  a “deterministic approach (as currently used for green buildings), to a more transactional model could be useful for human building interactions”. We take this mean that current standards, such as WELL, LEED, BREEAM etc are deterministic by method as they do not look at future scenarios, probabilities of adoption or any random occurrences. It presumes that the buildings and its activities are pre-determined and they are not. In this new era there is no such thing as steady state. As the building system should always be adapting to the human system. Furthermore, these standards to not fully tackle sick building syndrome, which despite great advancements is still an issue. The main reason is that building guidelines that tackle to SBS or health buildings are need to be more “more responsive to occupants’ behaviour, preferences, health, social and psychological well-being.

3

The final phase is to conduct quarterly assessments that combine all of three elements of sustainability to create a more interactive relationship between people and building.

 

 

Scenario 1: Light

Demographic: People whose main tasks are writing reports. They do not have any outstanding differences in regards to neurodiversity or disabilities.

Human Problem: Create adequate lighting that is not as disruptive to human sleep/wake cycles whilst still providing the right luminance for task.

Solution: Provide third spaces with abundant natural light, in case they are not receiving enough natural light at their workstations.

Visual Comfort Level Energy Expenditure Environmental Impact Through Solution

Adequate

Low

Inadequate

High

Medium

Low

High

Medium

Low

 
 

Scenario 2: Light

Demographic: People whose main tasks are writing reports. They do not have any outstanding differences in regards to neurodiversity or disabilities.

Human Problem: Create adequate lighting that is not as disruptive to human sleep/wake cycles whilst still providing the right luminance for task.

Solution: Provide third spaces that are poorly lit areas of the building with only LED lighting.

Visual Comfort Level Energy Expenditure Environmental Impact Through Solution

Adequate

Low

Inadequate

High

Medium

Low

High

Medium

Low

 

Notes

  1. This is one of the worst scores as it scores well in energy expenditures due to LED being great at energy saving. However, they are not great for our light and day cycle even when exposed to it during the day, furthermore LED contain toxic chemicals thus are not great on an environmental level.

  2. Finally, it does not help mitigate against stressors from other parts of the building thus negatively contributing to their wellbeing.

 

Josh Artus