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Green FM


Why should we care? Essentially, this affiliation we have for nature has great ‘side-effects’. It makes us happier and is good for our general wellbeing, as well as our productivity and our creativity. This probably explains why the concept is being bandied about and considered more and more these days. Also at the end of the day, it is essentially a green concept which is becoming more and more important in terms of our environment and climate change. So it is no surprise that biophilia is being embraced increasingly by architects and interior designers, especially as the emphasis now is primarily on making spaces that consider human wellbeing, productivity and creativity – not just aesthetics. Biophilia can definitely assist delivery of these three attributes: this was confirmed by the global report published by the design information source Human Spaces which found that ‘employees with access to nature in their work spaces reported a 13% higher level of wellbeing and 8% higher level of productivity’. (See for example: http://www. canvasandstone.co.uk/biophilic-design/)


How does biophilia work in the workplace? Considering we spend a good proportion of our time at work, on average 40% of it, it is little wonder that we need an injection of nature. Certainly in the UK (and in the Northern Hemisphere generally), we are also likely to spend more time indoors as our climate doesn’t necessarily encourage the outdoor lifestyle. Add to that time in bed and asleep, time at home, time commuting to work and so on. And all this doesn’t leave much time for enjoying life in the great outdoors unless you make a real effort. What research has found is that


when we’re at work, natural light and a view of green spaces or water and even indoor plants have a really positive effect on how we work and feel. You might think that being plant specialists of course we would say that, but it is all clarified and confirmed in the landmark Human Spaces report. The report identifies the key necessities of biophilia, including: n Natural light


n Views of nature or natural landscapes and water


n Choice of decoration colours





Research has found is that when we’re at work, natural light and a view of green spaces or water and even indoor plants have a really positive effect on how we work and feel


’ Image courtesy of Human Spaces


Let there be light Natural light gives us a sense of time and space and works with our Circadian Rhythms. That’s the natural rhythms of our body clock. How often have you heard people complain that it’s dark when they go to work and dark when they go home during the winter months? Imagine working in a building when no matter what the season, there was never any natural light. The result would be an environment darker than you need it to be to work effectively all the time without the help of some form of artificial lighting. Our Circadian Rhythms get out of kilter with modern living. Originally they worked with natural daylight, allowing us to close down and sleep when it got dark. Now artificial lighting allows us to stay awake longer than our natural body clocks were originally set for. At least encouraging natural light into


our work places helps to activate these rhythms, and if it’s light enough for you it will be light enough for plants too. Natural light will also assist reductions in energy use as well. And of course more windows will also hopefully give you better natural views beyond your workplace to enhance your experience.


Nature in view


Research from Norway has shown that being able to see plants or nature


A natural roof space to look out on (Enterprise Plants)


Bringing the outdoors in at a shopping Centre (The Centre Milton Keynes courtesy of Urban Planters)


FACILITIES 47


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