Research: building with wood is healthier
Recent studies indicate that buildings with a high level of wood content have a positive physiological impact on the human nervous system.
At Greenbuild 2014, David Fell, research leader for market research at FPInnovations, discussed research findings linking wood in building and reduced stress for their occupants.
According to Fell, recent studies, along with evidence emerging from Europe and Asia, suggest that the use of wood indoors lowers stress reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system—which is associated with lower blood pressure, lower heart-rate, lower psychological stress, lower susceptibility to illness, and a better ability to focus attention.
He said this is relevant both in the context of evidence-based design, which studies the effects of building design on occupants (among other things), and biopholic design, which considers the general affinity humans have for nature and addresses it through design elements and materials.
Fell conducted recent study "Wood and Human Health" at the University of British Columbia and FPInnovations that established a link between wood and human health. In the study the presence of visual wood surfaces in a room lowered sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation. The SNS is responsible for physiological stress responses in humans. This result opens the door to a myriad of stress-related health benefits that the presence of wood may afford in the built environment. The application of wood to promote health indoors is a new tool for practitioners of evidence-based design.
Download the study here.
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