Bringing nature into the built environment goes beyond just a design trend. It satisfies an inherent human inclination to connect with nature. That inclination is called biophilia, and it’s the inspiration behind biophilic design, which uses natural light, nature views, and even vegetation and natural building materials in design.

For instance, a biophilic building design might include indoor water features to bring not only the soothing sound of water into the built environment, but also patterns of light reflecting off the surface of the water. Indoor gardens, natural ventilation, and the use of natural materials and patterns all find their way into biophilic design.

One major part of this method is making a visual connection with nature, so a design needs to fit in with natural surroundings. There should be gardens and trees to create as natural an environment as possible outside the building, and a way for people to connect with that setting. As with other modern design approaches, this means bigger windows to allow views through to the outside and varying intensities of natural light.

Since a biophilic design is providing this connection with the outside environment, light, glare, and the control of solar gain are very important. In the past, this would have been achieved by factors such as size and location of window openings, exterior overhangs, and ventilation. In a modern building, however, more sophisticated shading is required to meet the requirements.

Shades with natural colors can cut glare while maintaining a connection with nature.

One key for solar control products in a biophilic design is for them to fit in well with the natural environment. Retractable exterior blinds can be hidden out of sight, and deployed only when it becomes necessary. The light can then be manipulated by changing the angle of the louvers to provide changing lighting patterns while controlling glare. Biophilic design uses natural materials, so providing louvers made of wood helps the product appear natural and blend in with the design style.

Interior shades—available in several natural colors and patterns—can also help with glare reduction. Ultra-quiet motors ensure the least disruptive operation possible. When products such as the FlexWave Light Shelf or Bottom-Up FlexShades are added to the mix, light can be diffused or reflected further into the structure as glare and solar heat gain are reduced.

Whether using exterior or interior solar control, or a combination of both, the system can tie into building management systems, so they can be programmed to move to the correct position by time of day, react to current weather conditions, or track the position of the sun and operate the shades accordingly.

If you’d like to learn more about biophilic design, click here to read an excellent article by Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA, the CEO of the International Living Future Institute. The piece, entitled “Why You Should Adopt Biophilic Design,” appeared in a recent issue of Green Building & Design Magazine.

To see how our solar control products can help manage glare and solar heat gain in a biophilic design, click here to go to our website, or contact your Draper window coverings representative.

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