November 18, 2020 Rebecca Ramsdale

Filling the Health & Wellness Gap With Gold

The Japanese art of Kintsugi highlights flaws by repairing cracks with gold.

When an item is broken or flawed, the American culture is to buy a new one! Fix it quickly! Find the cure! It is rare to take the time to reflect and think…what caused the issue?

Designer and engineer mindsets enjoy taking things apart, putting them back together, problem-solving, and fixing things. I think that our building industry readers might appreciate this analytic and diagnostic mindset. It is an art to recognize the flaws and come up with a solution.

But what if there isn’t a cure or solution?

Prevention. A lifestyle filled with leafy greens, colorful vegetables, balanced macronutrients, consistent exercise, and self-care keeps our minds, bodies, and souls healthy and sane. This helps prevent illness. The same goes for the operations and maintenance of the buildings that we spend our time in. By taking quality care of our spaces, we save money, time, and resources. We have the power to prevent issues before they become a crisis.

In the midst of COVID-19 (and even post-COVID crisis), it is vital to embrace Prevention through Design in the building. There are many resources (see below links) available, backed by reputable sources, to guide project teams to design a space that minimizes the spread of disease and promotes healthy and well occupants. Here are some recommendations to consider when designing and/or re-entering a space to reduce the spread of diseases — and some other, possibly surprising, benefits:

Air – Increase natural ventilation. Optimize humidity. Pressurization. Bipolar optimization. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation. MERV 13, 14, HEPA filters, etc. Benefits include improved mental focus and energy.

Water – Test water to improve quality and prevent waterborne pathogens. Install water bottle filling stations in lieu of drinking fountains. Benefits include improved brain functions and better-tasting water.

Materials – Anti-microbial coatings neutralize contagious disease agents. Foot-operated pulls, motion sensors, QR codes, or phone apps to activate doors and plumbing fixtures. Benefits include energy and water cost savings and an extended lifetime of finish materials.

Daylight – Sunlight can kill bacteria and viruses. Benefits include improved occupant moods, synced circadian rhythms, and energy cost savings.

Space – Designate areas for individual work and group collaboration. Owners can visually provide tenants with a spacious layout. A benefit is that designated spaces make for a comfortable setting.

Cleaning – Regular cleaning schedules with green cleaning disinfectant products reduce the number of toxins in the air. The EPA has a list of Disinfectants for COVID-19.

Public spaces and office-life are not gone. As human beings, we crave interaction and thrive on collaboration. Verdical Group is prepared to help guide you through reputable third-party certifications to be COVID-safe and will concurrently contribute to a healthier place for occupants. You can contact us here to learn more.

Being optimistic, we can use the COVID era as a time to improve building design. We can learn from the Japanese art, Kintsugi, which highlights flaws and repairs cracks with gold. There is a lot of talk about getting back to “normal” in this COVID-era, but this is an opportunity for us to do better than normal. Let us reflect on the hardships and embrace improvement to create a healthy and well space for all to thrive.

Additional Resources