A ‘Health-Positive’ Office
The design brief placed significant emphasis on creating a workplace that promoted wellness in a modern, healthy and sustainable work environment. The whole building was designed around the principle of ‘replicability’ – the idea that any company could use the same principles that were used to create this ‘health-positive’ office. This project met highly-demanding LEED v4 Gold and WELL Gold standards under a modest budget, proving that efficiency doesn’t have to be directly linked to runaway costs.
Biophilia was at the core of the concept for this high-performance building by integrating aspects of nature in the materials and in the design of the building. At the entrance, visitors are welcomed by a large green wall, and there are a variety of plants located throughout the office. On the ground floor, a large water feature, which uses rainwater collected on the roof of the building, creates a tranquil and peaceful environment. The three-story building also provides access to outdoor spaces on the 1st and 3rd floors, providing a more enjoyable work environment for the employees.
We assisted in the pursuit of the WELL Building Standard by designing features to support the certification principles. A unique feature was the use of tuneable LED lighting systems controlled to change colour temperature in select spaces to mimic daylight and help regulate the circadian rhythm of the occupants. Air quality monitors have also been installed to ensure a good indoor environment.
We provided a number of health-related design features to help our client reach their goal. The diversity of workspaces is remarkable in this project. Examples include a great kitchen space, cubes, breakout rooms, lounge spaces and conference areas.
The café in the building provides a selection of healthy food, to reinforce the central concept of wellbeing. Art is displayed throughout the building, reinforcing the ‘mind’ aspect of the certification. Physical movement is encouraged through the installation of an active staircase, a fitness area, outdoor exercise spaces and bicycle facilities to support an active lifestyle. The location is ideal for walking, cycling and access to transport facilities. The interior layout is designed to support human interaction and collaboration yet also to provide quiet areas for focused work. Lights turn off at a specific time every night, not only to prevent light pollution but also to act as a reminder for the employees to go home.
We delivered sustainability consultant services, LEED certification coordination and Fundamental and Enhanced Commissioning, integrating many features to create an energy efficient building. These included a Variable Refrigerant Flow system, moving heat from hot area to cold spaces without the use of compressors, providing an energy-efficient solution for the mechanical systems. A unique feature is the integration of exhaust fans to supplement condenser air movement, using the garage exhaust to pre-condition the condenser ambient air. Occupants can control natural ventilation in their workspace with operable windows to be opened or closed as desired. It provides them with thermal comfort, and reduces the overall carbon emission.
We designed the MEP systems to be highly efficient to reduce the building’s impact on the electrical grid. Through energy and daylight modelling and the integration of a large solar array we contributed to a 70% reduction in the energy consumption. The U shape of the building ensures all spaces have daylight and the lighting control allows for nearly all lights to be turned off during sunny days. The energy efficient features contributed to the LEED Gold certification of the building.