Quantifiable Benefits of Access to Nature in Buildings

Jan 01, 2009

“Sky garden” is the term given for vertically stacked, three-story tall landscaped interaction hubs, flanked by formal and informal conference spaces. The design intent of the sky garden is to create an environment that serves as a tool for increasing business performance. A literature review was conducted to determine if that premise is supported by scientific evidence.

Research showed benefits for access to nature in the following three categories:
• Performance indicators include improved opportunities for collaboration and communication, positive impact on recruiting and retention, positive message about investment in staff, which equates to trust building, alignment in key workplace initiatives and notable marketplace differentiator in leased environments.
• Psychological indicators include stress reduction, increased mental agility and innovative thinking, positive perceptions, background noise management, increased motivation and productivity.
• Physiological indicators include improved air quality and daylighting, increased humidity, reduced absenteeism, dust, carbon dioxide, mold, bacteria and chemicals.

keywords: nature, productivity, health, performance, indoor environment, indoor air quality, stress

Michelle Halle Stern, AIA, P.E., LEED Faculty (Perkins+Will)
Tom Mozina, AIA, LEED AP (Perkins+Will)
Gail Borthwick, AIA, LEED AP (Perkins+Will)
Perkins+Will Research Journal
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