Health and Wellbeing
Wood is good for our health and wellbeing. Its calming qualities make people feel better in the built environment as much as in the outdoors.
Facts about health and wellbeing in the built environment
- Each year we spend 90% of our time in buildings or cars.
- Our surroundings, including buildings still being designed today can create issues like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression and lung disease
- 90% of respondents to a recent survey said they wanted a home that doesn’t compromise their health and wellbeing and a third would pay more for a healthy home
- 85% of respondents who are willing to pay more for an environmentally-friendly home would also be willing to pay more for a healthy home
- In contrast, 47% of those willing to pay more for a healthy home would pay more for an environmentally-friendly home
- Cognitive abilities increase by 61% when in a green building. This increases to 101% when additional ventilation rates are introduced
- A study conducted in 2010 in an Austrian school compared two ‘timber’ classrooms versus two ‘standard’ classrooms. The benefits for children studying in the timber classrooms were impressive, their heart rates were lowered by up to 8600 heartbeats
- The children were noticeably more relaxed and it had a positive effect on their performance too as well leading to a decreased perception of stress
- A Japanese study found exposure to wooden panels significantly decreases blood pressure, while exposure to steel panels makes it rise
- Another Japanese study carried out in a care home found by providing wooden tables, chairs and tableware, the interaction between residents increased
- Workers in offices with wooden interiors conveyed feelings of innovation, energy and comfort. Workers in offices without wood conveyed feelings of their environment being impersonal and uncomfortable
- Wood products in a room have also been shown to improve indoor air quality by moderating humidity
- The reason wood has such a good effect on human health is because of how it lowers the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation. (Study here.) SNS is what causes stress responses, increases blood pressure, heart rate and inhibits functions like digesting, recovery and repair. When surrounded by nature and wood, these symptoms lower
Read the latest research results on the role of wood in healthy buildings.