How buildings can improve occupant health
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, people spent an average of 90 per cent of their time indoors. Now that workers are beginning to return to offices and retail environments are beginning to bustle, it’s time to think about design that not only safeguards, but improves, occupant health.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) directly affects the comfort and health of a building’s occupants, and if it is compromised, they face an increased risk of airborne diseases. An understanding of factors that affect IEQ and how buildings can be operated to improve occupant’s health is especially crucial with extreme events like global pandemics and can go towards reducing health risks.

Sustainable design advances a building’s positive environmental qualities and reduces its negative impacts on the environment. As earth’s population continues to degrade living conditions on our planet, building design, construction, and operation professionals need to respond with sustainable structures that are also healthy, resilient, accessible, and cost effective.

The building envelope is a primary component of any building, as the interface between differing outdoor and indoor environments. Features include shelter, energy efficiency, air quality, moisture control, fire resistance, cost effectiveness, durability, and aesthetics.

The main objectives of sustainable, building envelope first design are to avoid resource depletion of raw materials, energy, and water, to prevent environmental degradation caused by operation demands of buildings and their infrastructure throughout their life cycle. The definition of sustainable envelope design is ever changing, but there are six integral principles that nearly all professionals agree with.

With more concern being placed upon building sustainability, mass timber is emerging as a renewable construction material with high durability and versatility that can add significant value to a building.

Once used modestly, mass timber has increasingly become a primary material of choice thanks to technological advancements. Canada building codes are changing to allow for taller structures made predominantly of mass timber, opening the way for some of the most innovative, beautiful, and sustainable structures our cities have ever known.

Here are some examples of buildings designed and built with mass timber in order to demonstrate wood as a renewable building material and showcase these buildings’ sustainable design.

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