Why Biophilic Design

Most people just think about the health of their body by what they are putting into it or the cleaning chemicals they are touching but

...what about how our homes or offices are affecting your health.

Addressing health and wellness when we are inside is more important than ever before. “Indoor Air pollutants have increased to 2-5 times Outdoor Air pollutants in recent decades” (1). Our interiors are suffering from an over abundance of toxic chemicals that we are touching and breathing everyday. In the design and construction industry, the emerging movement taking on the problems with our health caused by buildings is called Biophilic Design.

Unlike many other design styles, Biophilic Design is a scientific based design method for creating healthier spaces.

Biophilic Design is more than just nature in the built environment, it’s a few subset categories like natural materials and reducing toxins. The main problem we face is the lack in addressing product material ingredients in our buildings.

With such simple things as a kitchen remodel or an office remodel, we’ve blinded selected items (many imported from other countries that don’t hold the same standards) with little regard for the dangers they place with daily exposure.

Every new, innovative, synthetic material has added to our problem. In the last 100 years our cancer rates have increased. During what is known as the third chemical revolution (1904-1924) came the bonding of chemicals leading to cancer death rates increased dramatically (2). Since then, we been exposing our bodies to heavy amounts of unhealthy chemicals. “The EPA has 80,000 chemicals currently in the inventory [with] testing for fewer than 200 chemicals [...] and has issued regulations to limit or ban the production of only 5 chemicals” (3).

From our homes to our office, our health and quality of life are suffering from unhealthy interiors because of product material ingredients.

Designing healthy interiors is currently not being implemented on any measurable scale. Very few designers in the industry are actively designing or consulting in the biophilic design theory to implement healthy material selection on their projects. Even fewer have studied and taken the time to get professionally educated as to implement biophilic design using the methodologies laid out by Stephen Kellert.

Biophilic Design is the way the industry is addressing Health and Wellness in the built environment. The interiors of our buildings are struggling to provide the human body a health environment to thrive. Biophilic Design is moving that connection we have with nature into the built environment for our buildings and homes to have that same restorative benefit for our health.

“Americans spend 87% of their time indoors” (5). Our interiors lack of natural light, air flow, personal temperature control, access to nature, a view of outdoor greenery, and natural materials that affect our health. Instead we wait to go on vacation to get the restorative benefits of nature, being outside, getting fresh air, feeling the warmth of the sun, and seeing the beauty of nature. The elements outdoors is what resets our mind and body providing mental resilience against stress.

Our interiors are adding to our stress levels instead of helping to reduce it.

Nature is scientifically proven to restore our brains to maintain good mental health; “A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to participants who walked in a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression” (5).

Being that which restores us, why not incorporate biophilic design in our interiors?

Start your biophilic or wellness design for your residential or commercial project. Book us online today for an in-person or virtual consulting.

1. EPA Report “Indoor Air Quality

What are the trends in indoor air quality and their effects on human health?”

2. https://progressreport.cancer.gov/diagnosis/incidence



pg. 22

4. https://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/6/3/251

5. Pg 25. https://indoor.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-47713.pdf

6. https://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/