Healthy Buildings: why new technologies are the great enablers of change

From improved heating and lighting to building management systems, Priva’s latest white paper underlines why new technologies are vital to delivering healthier workplace.

In our previous blog we examined how the momentum behind the workplace wellness debate has accelerated as a result of the pandemic. But as Priva’s new free-to-download white paper entitled ‘Healthy Buildings: why now is the time to invest in building management technologies’ also confirms, it is the fierce rate of technological innovation that is making healthier buildings possible.

For any organization looking to make improvements, the process of review should begin by looking at the essentials of a healthy building. In recent years these have been helpfully consolidated into the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building by Dr Joseph Allen’s team at Harvard University: Air Quality, Dust & Pests, Lighting & Views, Moisture, Noise, Safety & Security, Thermal Health, Ventilation and Water Quality.

Taking action in all these areas might seem daunting. Fortunately, as the white paper shows, new technologies mean that it is now easier than ever to achieve – and maintain – a working environment that is supportive of the wellbeing of employees and visitors.

In the wake of a devastating respiratory virus, it’s to be expected that there will be a trend towards upgrading air-conditioning and filtration systems. More than ever, people will expect a robust and reliable supply of fresh air. But there are numerous other examples of wellness-related technologies that can make a real difference: from tuneable LED systems that aid concentration to programmable heating systems that ensure pleasant temperatures all year round.

The case for a BMS

While the benefits of these newer core building technologies are in no doubt, they can bring challenges in terms of complexity. In particular, they herald the prospect of more expansive control functions and higher levels of system data – very useful in theory, but also potentially overwhelming if not integrated into a broader control set-up.

It’s in this context that the value of having a core Building Management System (BMS) has become increasingly apparent. Providing an overarching control function, a good BMS allows for the coordination and optimization of individual systems for air, heating, lighting and so on. Not only does this help to reduce the time spent interacting with separate control systems, it also provides a quicker path to identifying potential problems.

A BMS can also help a company determine a course towards continued reductions in energy expenditure and carbon emissions. That’s because of its ability to aggregate data from separate core systems and allow Facilities Managers to easily identify the headline figures. On a day-to-day level this helps with optimizing systems in relation to occupancy patterns and employee preferences. But in a longer-term sense it can be instrumental in enabling a company to achieve its environmental goals.

Recent calls from multiple research groups for more official validation of air quality underline the expectation that, in time, a BMS will enable companies to show that they are providing a healthy workspace. This kind of data is also likely to feed into job applicants thinking and help determine which companies attract the best talent.

With the latest generation of BMS being easier to install in both new-builds and refurbishments, our white paper makes a strong case for these systems being a massive asset in delivering the healthier workplaces that we are all coming to expect. For more information on BMS, including the factors to bear in mind when selecting a system, please download the white paper for free and in full here.