Healthy Buildings, Healthy People

by Enzo Marfella
Aug. 18, 2020 | Back To Explore

A company’s strongest asset is its people and we are reminded now more than ever how valuable fostering a healthy work environment is for success. Stakeholders and developers are seeing a great return on investment toward wellness and creating settings that celebrate positive social experiences. When teams can collaborate and share in a healthy and safe work setting, passion and productivity follow. 

At Little, we value the health of people and of the environment. We remain focused on the 2030 Challenge and net-zero (ready) goals by exploring building optimizations and energy reduction strategies through energy modeling while prioritizing the preservation and conservation of water. We implement regenerative solutions that balance environmental, economic and human factors – ultimately, designing projects that achieve client goals of financial and cultural success.

While keeping all the above in mind, our Office Studio takes a holistic approach in the discussion of Healthy Buildings.

For additional detail about our healthy building approach and to learn about certifications for healthy environments, see the attached PDF.

Site and Exterior Amenities

From the outside, Site Attributes, Site Circulation/Occupation, and Exterior Amenities are healthy building considerations that can mitigate the spread of contaminants to the inside of a building. The outdoors can become an important part of the work environment and encourage healthy behaviors while increasing employee happiness and productivity. A large rooftop amenity space is an example of how the outdoors can be emphasized, as is walkability, wider sidewalks, multiple pathways and a more hygienic user experience from parking to entry.

Interior Amenities

A safe and healthy interior office environment begins with a focus on access to the building, which makes activating lobby and elevator spaces crucial to the building strategy. Safety is provided through temperature monitoring systems, minimizing hand touch sequencing and integrating antimicrobial materials to minimize the transmission of contaminants. Within elevator cabs, increasing airflow and UV air filtration can reduce airborne transmission while UV-C lighting during inactive periods can reduce surface contaminants.

Additional strategies in our holistic approach to designing healthy buildings are envelope/systems, restroom and operational strategies. For envelope and systems, ventilation and filtration are at the heart of addressing aerosol transmission of disease. While HVAC systems with advanced microbial filtration and elimination are a positive investment, you may also consider operable windows or winter gardens as part of the building envelope to ensure natural ventilation becomes part of a holistic air circulation system. 

Restrooms have one of the highest touch point ratios in a building, calling for touchless automated fixtures to be installed. Sanitization methods such as UV light stall systems and increased frequency of cleaning also contribute to a healthier experience. Operational strategies that implement these measures help create a safe work environment. Together with operational, occupancy and behavioral strategies, management teams and users can align their efforts for optimal results.

We have learned during these challenging times that the office experience is not going away as human connection and social exchange are at the heart of ideation in this innovation economy. By strengthening health, safety and wellness measures in our buildings, we create healthy human experiences.