WOOD, WELLBEING AND THERMAL COMFORT IN THE WORKPLACE
Today employers are focussing on the physical and mental health of their employees, helping to keep employees happy and productive at work, and reduce absence due to ill health. Businesses are increasingly designing workplaces with employee wellbeing as their priority.
WOOD AND WELLBEING IN THE WORKPLACE
According to a recent report on Workplaces, Wellness and Wood*, wood is a key factor in improving the working environment and increasing workplace productivity.We’re all aware of the benefits of spending time outdoors with nature on our physical and mental wellbeing. However, many of us spend the majority of our week indoors at work, so it’s interesting to hear proven research that being surrounded by natural looking wood surfaces, plants and natural light can improve the feelings of personal wellbeing and increase productivity and concentration.
The research found that the more natural-looking wooden surfaces employees could see from their desk, the higher their workplace satisfaction and wellbeing. It also found that less than half of those surveyed had access to nature at work, with only 46 per cent spending less than an hour outside during the working week. Only 47 per cent of those surveyed had access to natural light at work, only 38 per cent worked in an office with indoor plants and a mere 26 per cent were unable to see any natural-looking wooden surfaces in their workplace.
Swedish architects Adolfson & Partners went one step further when they designed the Stockholm offices of games developer King. They went back to basics with a concept based on the Swedish forest with a sunken glass-roofed well, a reception wall swathed in Norwegian lichen, earth-toned carpeting to simulate rock, moss and soil, tree and woodland animal silhouettes, all completed by real plants, and real wood furniture. Read about the project here: Swedish Forest-Inspired Office
Westcoast composite windows can help you go one step towards creating a natural work environment – the authentic real wood interior of our composite windows has a timeless quality, enhances the character of your workplace and adds a warmth and connection to nature not found in aluminium window solutions. This compounded with the benefits of the low maintenance aluminium exterior, ideal for multi-storey buildings, makes them the perfect modern glazing solution for office developments. Westcoast Windows composite windows and doors are often used in workplace environments, such as commercial office developments, education and healthcare.
Find out more about our internal natural wood window finishes, including knot-free laminated pine and oak, on our HOMEOWNER GUIDANCE or COMMERCIAL GUIDANCEpages – select the APPEARANCE tab.
HOW TO ACHIEVE THERMAL COMFORT IN THE WORKPLACE
Thermal comfort is a complex area. It’s not measured by temperature, but by a person’s perception of whether they are too hot or cold. Ensuring thermal comfort in the workplace is paramount for physical and mental health, enhancing wellbeing and increasing productivity. Today employees need to be as productive as possible to meet the demands of their employers, and businesses are increasingly designing workplaces with employee wellbeing as their priority.
There are many factors to consider when designing a building to achieve thermal comfort such as location, climate, solar radiation, humidity, the purpose of the space, level of activity and the needs and demographics of the inhabitants. The UK government suggests a minimum workplace temperature of 13ºC to 16ºC and employers are obliged to adhere to strict health and safety regulations which include providing clean air and temperature at a comfortable level. The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends the ideal office temperature to be 20ºC.
Windows can affect comfort is many ways. During cold weather external temperatures can decrease the temperature of the glass, so if a person is sitting next to the window they can feel the cold even if the room temperature is at an acceptable level. Drafts caused by poor window seals can be a secondary level of discomfort. On the flip side, direct sun also has negative impacts on the environment, where solar radiation can cause overheating, increasing the need for blinds or shutters, which then negate the benefits of the natural light.
Westcoast Windows Swedish designed and manufactured composite windows and doors provide a high performance glazing solution to help you achieve thermal comfort in the workplace, education facility or healthcare establishment.
Our unique composite system consists of an outer part of powder-coated aluminium, which is resistant to harsh weather conditions, bonded to an inner part of natural timber, to make a truly composite frame and sash. The timber element acts as a thermal break enabling the frame to offer very high levels of insulation. You can select almost any type of double or triple-glazed glass to meet the demands of thermal insulation, sound attenuation, solar control, safety and security.
Further advances in glazing technology now allow for electrochromic coatings (or smart glass) which adapts to the light levels and dims accordingly to create optimum light transmission levels to create a comfortable indoor thermal comfort. Read about our latest project using smart glass for the Hogia building in Sweden: HOGIA OFFICE BUILDING
U-values measure how effective a material is as an insulator. For example a cavity wall has a U-value of 1.6 W/m2k, a solid brick wall is around 2.0 W/m2k and single-glazed windows achieve around 5.0 W/m2k. Our triple-glazed Design Series windows achieve U-values as low as 0.9 W/m2k for fixed windows, making them an incredibly efficient energy saving glazing solution, helping you to achieve thermal comfort.
Find out more about our full range of Swedish manufactured composite windows and doors at: Westcoast Windows Composite Windows & Doors
For further advice on achieving thermal comfort with composite windows or to discuss your next development project, contact our UK office on 01359 241944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*TRADA WEBSITE: https://www.trada.co.uk/news/new-report-workplaces-wellness-and-wood
Further reading on thermal comfort: