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10 California Buildings News • Q4 2019

CBE Research Shows How to Improve Buildings' Performance UC Berkeley CBE Conference Harnesses Efforts of Industry & Academia Attendees of the fall conference of the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at UC Berkeley learned how to better measure workplace well-being, use nature to increase productivity, achieve energy savings using fans and improve indoor air quality measurements. CBE brings prominent industry leaders and top global researchers together to improve the performance of buildings by providing timely, unbiased information on building technologies and design and operation techniques. The University of California facility is considered one of the top five or six research centers in the world that focuses on buildings’ energy uses and environmental characteristics. Biophilic designs (introducing nature into workplaces) can achieve Photo: Adobe Stock.

significantly higher levels of productivity, improve health outcomes and increase occupant well-being, keynote speaker Bill Browning said in his address on the new science of biophilia. His firm, Terrapin Bright Green, has produced such outcomes in facilities throughout the world. “If we go to nature to feel happy, why don’t we bring those components into the workplace?” Browning asked the audience. Views of nature, he said, lower blood pressure, increase shortterm memory and decrease negative emotions, even when occupants are exposed to virtual nature via images. “Only 40 seconds of viewing nature is needed to reset the brain,” he said. Fractals (partial images of nature like ferns or snowflakes) used in design can

also achieve noticeable results, he said, and recommended flowing water and water-generated sounds. A study he cited showed a 299% increased return on investment among workers in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s call center when they were able to view scenes from windows, instead of cubicle walls.“The highest stress zone,” he said, “is a place with no view of the outside.” Hospitality industry studies show that rooms and spaces with outside views are priced higher, used more and report better guest experiences. Classrooms with biophilic assets lowered students’ stress and was more conducive to learning. People recovering from surgery were discharged sooner and required fewer painkillers if their rooms had windows to outside scenes. (Continued on page 38)

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California Buildings News Q4 2019  

News about California buildings, architecture, construction, commercial real estate, property and facility management, and sustainability.

California Buildings News Q4 2019  

News about California buildings, architecture, construction, commercial real estate, property and facility management, and sustainability.