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What Is Biophilic Design?

The word Biophilia originates from the Greek ‘Philia’ meaning ‘love of’ and simply means a love of life or living things.

Biophilic design dates back to the early 80s when biologist Edward O. Wilson outlined his philosophy of biophilia, stating that humans have an inherent need to connect to the natural world. Biophilic design recognizes this philosophy and takes the idea one step further.

Because humans spend more time indoors, it’s necessary to bring the great outdoors in to create a natural environment for us to live, work, and learn in. By consciously bringing natural elements into our interior spaces or architectural designs, we are subconsciously connecting with the natural world.

What does Biophilic design include?

Biophilic design is more than just adding plants to indoor spaces. It’s a philosophy of design that is used as a way to improve the mental and physical well being of those using the interior space.

There are three core categories of biophilic design.

Nature in the Space

This concept refers to adding natural elements to the interior design. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to introduce biophilia to modern buildings as it gives people instant access to the health benefits of biophilia.

Think potted plants, rooftop gardens, living walls, views of natural landscapes from the window, natural light, and access to green space and nature.

These direct connections to nature have the strongest impact on us as humans.

biophilic design

Natural Analogues

This concept refers to man-made elements that mimic natural features. Think of things like artificial plants, artwork, natural geometries, naturalistic shapes and materials that all evoke natural environments.

By mirroring natural forms through the use of textures and natural lighting, you can create a human nature connection that evokes positive responses to the outdoors.

The Nature of the Space

This concept refers to the way in which space planning and architectural design affect our moods and feelings.

Humans have evolved over millions of years, and our success as a species is due to our ability to connect with the natural habitat. As a species, we are continually drawn to inspirational and restorative places that allow us to explore.

It’s for this reason that we find golden beaches with stunningly clear waters or mountain environments with waterfalls to be the most attractive. Mysterious and risky views also draw us in, which explains our love for tall buildings, skyscrapers, spiral staircases and multi-level views such as mezzanines and atriums.

natural systems

What are the benefits of biophilic design?

Long before the covid-19 pandemic, the biophilic design was incredibly popular and research has shown that there is a direct correlation between clever architectural design and improved mental well being. Even simple changes to incorporate nature into the workplace and home can have a huge impact on how we feel.

In fact, a 2019 study found that children in Denmark that were exposed to the outdoors had over 50% fewer mental health problems as an adult compared to those who weren’t exposed to nature.

Additional research has also shown that natural materials and natural light can also help increase focus and boost immunity.

Studies have also linked greenery to increased productivity. In a series of studies, researchers from the Nordics found that people who performed complex tasks surrounded by plants improved their scores every time versus people who did not. This is because when we are surrounded by nature, we can give our minds a break, restoring our ability to focus. This research has led some of the world’s top organisations to incorporate biophilic design as a way to make employees happier, harder working, and more creative.

Incorporating Biophilic Design into Your Space

Incorporating biophilic design into your workplace or home is incredibly easy and can be done in two ways – directly and indirectly.

For a direct experience, plants and greenery are a quick and easy way to incorporate biophilic design into your urban space. Not only do they look nice, but as research has shown, they can allow us to feel happier and more productive too.

If you are struggling for space in your home or office, you can incorporate biophilic design elements into your immediate surroundings through other methods. Scents are a great way to add this to your space indirectly – things like candles smelling of lavender, or an earthy colour scheme on the walls and floors are a great way to implement biophilic design into your space subtly.

Conclusion

Designing spaces can often be difficult. But with biophilic design, it only takes a few simple additions to connect humans to the outdoors.

The great thing about biophilic design is that it’s completely flexible – you don’t have to completely remodel a room or building to reap the benefits. Positive health effects can happen by implementing the smallest changes.

By introducing more plants to an urban space such as an office, you can increase productivity by around 15%.

What are the Benefits of a Sedum Roof?

A sedum green roof helps to brighten up city areas, but they are also highly beneficial for the environment too – plants naturally purify the air, reduce ambient temperatures, and help to provide habitats for nature such as insects and birds.

The installation of a green roof on a home or office allows people to create a healthy habitat while also gaining a number of additional benefits, including:

Improved air quality

Sedum roofs can help improve air quality by reducing the amount of airborne dust and pollen. Sedum also helps to keep the roof cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, which can reduce energy costs.

Urban areas are known for their increased amount of carbon dioxide and pollutants. Green roofs reduce these pollutants from the environment by emitting oxygen and improving the overall air quality surrounding them.

Reduces the Urban Heat Island Effect

The urban heat island effect is the difference in temperature between urban areas and the countryside. In city centres, this can be as much as 5 degrees difference as large office buildings will reflect and radiate solar energy. A green roof will absorb this heat and the evaporation of water from plants helps cool and humidify the air, lowering the temperature.

Increase the lifespan of the roof

A green roof can double, and even triple the life expectancy of your rooftop. A green roof protects the waterproofing membranes that lie beneath your roof and ensure that your rooftop lasts for much longer than anticipated.

Easy installation

The great thing about green roofs is that they can be installed easily on most buildings. It’s important that the roof is installed by a professional to a high standard as this will reduce the risk of damage to your property.

How Does a Sedum Green Roof Work?

A sedum roof is a type of roof made up of succulents – these succulents have a long life expectancy, can withstand harsh weather conditions and are low maintenance.

Sedums are a great choice for roofing as they have a huge amount of benefits. Sedums are an environmentally friendly roofing material because they require little maintenance and they are resistant to weathering and decay. A sedum roof also provides a beautiful, natural green blanket on your roof that can enhance the appearance of your home.

What is the Cost of a Sedum Roof?

There is no one definitive answer to this question as the cost of a sedum roof will vary depending on the size of the roof, the type of sedum used, and any additional features (such as gutters or flashing) that may be required.

How long does a sedum roof last?

Sedum roofs are known for their longevity and resistance to weathering, making them a popular choice for roofing.

Will a Green roof protect my property?

There are many benefits of green roofs including protecting your property from external influences such as sun, wind, rain and varying temperatures. They also help to bring down the heat in your home or commercial space too – by absorbing and reflecting light, they help to reduce the high costs associated with heating and air conditioning.

Conclusion

Creating a sedum roof in your home or office space is a great idea. It brings a whole host of benefits for people, properties and the planet, it is easy to install and takes up minimal space.

Sedum roofs have the potential to modernise any urban development. By removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing the need for heating and air-conditioning in many properties, green roofs could be just what we need to help fight the battle against global warming and climate change.

Commercial Rooftop Gardens

A leafy landscaped garden around a commercial property for users of the building to socialise and relax in is a great idea for many businesses. As great as commercial rooftop gardens are, they are incredibly complex to build as many properties have space constraints.

Studies have proven that there are numerous benefits to having greenery in the workplace including increased productivity and mood, but many businesses don’t have the room for an outdoors breakout area. Therefore, rooftop gardens are often the best option for an outdoor space in many office buildings.

Benefits of Commercial Rooftop Gardens

Roof gardens have a huge number of benefits for commercial buildings for many reasons. Not only do they provide a breakout area for those working in the building space, but they also help to insulate the building and can even control stormwater runoff.

Studies have shown that taking an outdoor break helps to boost productivity, and if many companies have these available more staff will undoubtedly benefit.

Restaurants and bars in busy cities benefit from stylish roof gardens too. Not only do they allow businesses to welcome more customers, which in turn boosts profit margins, but a commercial rooftop garden also gives your business a point of difference and may even boost your footfall if people are trying to maintain social distancing.

It’s not just office buildings and restaurants that can benefit from a roof garden, though. Schools and colleges can also benefit from rooftop spaces as it gives them somewhere to grow plants and vegetables or can even be used as an outside classroom in the summer months.

rooftop garden

Things to consider for a commercial rooftop garden

While roof gardens have many benefits, there are a few important considerations that you need to think about before going ahead.

Structural considerations and approval

Before beginning your project, the first thing you need to do is have a structural engineer confirm the load capacity of the rooftop, especially its ability to hold water tanks, furniture and any other accessories.

What if the rooftop has a limited load capacity?

If you have had your rooftop assessed and have found out that it’s unable to withstand a complete garden, consider container gardens that are much lighter. When assessing the weight, always think of how heavy your garden will be at its wettest.

Before starting any project, including a rooftop garden, it’s recommended that you complete all the formalities with your local council at the beginning too in order to avoid problems later down the line. The last thing you want is to put all the hard work in only for council approval to fall through so make this a top priority.

You need to ensure that your rooftop has things such as waterproofing, insulation and drainage features – the last thing you want is to have a leak inside your main building! You should also consider the weather elements – come win, sun, rain or shine you need to assess whether you need any additional components to block them out to ensure you’re making the space usable at all times.

Cosmetic considerations

One of the most important considerations you need to make as part of your rooftop garden transformation is the selection of live plants you plan to have.

Another consideration is whether you plan to use your roof garden to grow vegetables and herbs. Rooftop farming can be a welcome addition to any outdoor space, even in the midst of a concrete jungle, so this should be something you consider, especially if you are a bar or restaurant.

When selecting outdoor seating and furniture for your rooftop garden such as tables, umbrellas and patio heaters consider how they will withstand the elements and remain secured to your rooftop.

While there are a lot of things to consider with a rooftop garden, think about how you will make it enjoyable for your employees and customers. Adding some fun elements such as giant games, an outdoor bar or even a barbecue will all add value to your space and ensure it is enjoyed by all no matter what the weather!

 

Talk to us today about your commercial garden projects.

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