More to wood than meets the eye

by Darren
More to wood Jnl 4 15

The use of wood in interiors has many health and wellbeing benefits.

Living and working in environments with wooden interior fittings or even just wooden furniture has real and measurable physiological and psychological benefits that mimic the effect of spending time in nature.

This is according to an Australian non-profit, Planet Ark publication, Wood – Housing, Health, Humanity, which reports on the growing body of research into the range of health and wellbeing benefits of environments with wooden furnishings and fixtures.

In addition to the colour and texture of wood eliciting feelings of natural warmth and comfort, thereby improving a person’s emotional state and level of self-expression, use of the material has also been found to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels.

A yearlong Austrian study found that high-school learners taught in wood-furnished classrooms had slower heart rates and a decreased perception of stress compared to those in classrooms with linoleum floors and plasterboard walls. In New Zealand, two out of three workers prefer offices with wooden chairs, desks and blinds over the same office with those items made from plastic.

What’s more, due to wood absorbing and releasing moisture, it moderates humidity and thereby improves air quality. And as a long-term store of carbon, it helps to fight climate change.

Evidence-based design
These kinds of benefits are especially important for environments where nature is not easily incorporated, such as hospitals, offices and schools. With a growing awareness and application of evidence-based design (EBD), which focuses on incorporating the results of empirical research into the quality of the built environment, architects and designers are specifically incorporating exposed wood in their designs of schools, healthcare facilities and other buildings.

For more information, visit makeitwood.org, to which full thanks and acknowledgement are given for the information to write the article.

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