Healthy building design, an extension of green and sustainable initiatives, takes into consideration the physical, social, and psychological well-being of building occupants—important considerations since we spend most of our time indoors.

Choosing the right solutions can help you achieve healthy building design goals. Draper has a heart for green practices and we can help you achieve your healthy building goals through these strategies:

Photo by Ohalo123 under a Creative Commons Public License.

Biophilic Design
Bringing nature into the built environment goes beyond 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.

One key for solar control products in a biophilic design is for them to fit in well with the natural environment. They allow natural sun light to keep plants alive, while mitigating properties that may be disturbing to occupants. 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. Metal louvers are finished to blend in and are made of recyclable aluminum.

Daylighting Strategy
A healthy building is going to make use of natural daylight and views of nature. This helps provide building occupants a feeling of well-being. Natural light impacts human health and has been shown to reduce morbidity, and both absenteeism and presenteeism. Natural light also improves productivity.

To get the most out of a daylighting strategy, it is important to mitigate glare and solar heat gain that can come with bringing more sun through glazing and into the occupied space. Care must be taken that the shading solution respects the need for natural views and light. An automated system with localized override ensures that shades are where they need to be at the right times. Proper use of fabric color and openness factor strikes the right balance of control and view-through.

Indoor Environment
Air quality is one of the most important aspects of a healthy building. Are the temperature and relative humidity at comfortable levels? Is the air free of pollutants?

The Environmental Protection Agency has this to say about indoor air quality: “The growing proliferation of chemical pollutants in consumer and commercial products, the tendency toward tighter building envelopes and reduced ventilation to save energy, and pressures to defer maintenance and other building services to reduce costs have fostered indoor air quality problems in many buildings. Occupant complaints of odors, stale and stuffy air and symptoms of illness or discomfort breed undesirable conflicts between occupants or tenants and building managers.”

An important part of indoor air quality is reducing the release of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air (known as off-gassing). Draper provides a complete line of shade fabrics by American weavers Phifer and Mermet that are UL certified Greenguard Gold. These fabrics meet the strictest chemical emissions limits as established by the Greenguard certification program and tested in dynamic environmental chambers.

Skin Health
Extended sun exposure does bring with it a potential for skin damage. Shades can play an important role in protecting building occupants’ skin health from UV rays.

Many of our Phifer fabrics have received the Melanoma International Foundation’s seal of approval.  They have passed a series of rigorous independent tests and been reviewed by a committee, including physicians and melanoma experts. Phifer fabrics that block 90% or more of UV rays bear the seal of approval.

If you are interested in learning more about healthy building design and how it plays into various environmental certifications, click here to listen to an episode of the HIVE re:Think podcast.

To explore Draper shading solutions that can contribute to a healthy building design, click here to go to the Draper website and hover your mouse over the “Shading & Solar Control” menu item.