Reference room for MY FUTURE OFFICE built
In the research project MY FUTURE OFFICE coordinated by the Sentinel Haus Institute for healthier workplaces and higher performance capacity, a reference office has been built for the measurement of emissions. After the successful completion of the product and system tests for the building materials and interior equipment of the participating manufacturers, a so-called European reference room was built at the eco-Institute in Cologne.
A person’s health and efficiency are strongly influenced by his environment. Therefore, the quality of the room air and other parameters has direct influence on each individual. Toxins from building materials, too little daylight, or simply bad construction planning reduce the motivation and health of employees. This is particularly important in everyday office life where the health and well-being of the employees have great influence on the economic success of a company. In the planning and design stages already, the later room air quality can be influenced by making a deliberate selection of the building materials. What does the office of the future have to be like and how does it need to be equipped so that it will be healthier, more conducive to performance and cost-efficient?
Well-known building material manufacturers and innovative providers of construction products and room systems have made it their mission to make office buildings healthier, cost-efficient and practical. Together with the Sentinel Haus Institute, they have therefore initiated the one-of-a-kind research project MY FUTURE OFFICE. They contribute jointly not only valuable knowledge, practical experience and contacts to the project, but also consider current questions. To structure this process for the individual interest groups, there are expert committees, which are composed by stages. The committees ensure that the project and its participants keep an open mind for new topics. They ask questions and examine the project results with constructive criticism. They take on the explicit viewpoint of their target group and add it to the discussion between all partners.
The objective is to develop standards for economic, ecological and healthier office buildings in both new construction as well as renovations. Issues such as the employees’ efficiency, the reduction of times of absence due to illness, the monetary value increase of the property and high-quality process management are studied. After the successful completion of the product and system tests for the building materials and interior equipment of the participating manufacturers, a so-called European reference (LINK). According to DIN EN ISO 16516 the room was built at the eco-Institute in Cologne. It is a general standard for buildings and simulates buildings on small scale. The reference room was built by an experienced team of architects and specialised tradespeople.
The project treats the following:
- Quality of the interior room air
- Fire protection, evacuation
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Barrier-free access, suitability for ages
- Room acoustics
- Sustainable companies and supply chain
- Thermal comfort
- Circular flow economy (recycling, waste)
- Sound insulation
- Product responsibility eco balance (CO2, energy, etc.)
- Visual comfort
It is particularly important in the project to assure the currentness of the project results and their viability for the future. At the same time, the practical realisability is in the focus: Requirements for healthier and more cost-efficient office buildings for motivated and efficient employees are not only formulated, documented and checked by measuring technology, but also implemented in real buildings of different construction techniques. The insights from the research phase will be realised in innovative, real projects by highly regarded architects.
MY FUTURE OFFICE is to lay the ground stone for profitable, sustainable offices for happy and healthy employees. The smart solutions are to result in higher rental income and sales prices because the rooms make a compelling case for the applied sustainability and low consequential costs. The companies furthermore polish their image and improve employee retention, since the high-quality building materials and the modern equipment also decidedly improve the health and well-being of the employees while also avoiding damage events. For this reason and due to the reduction of pollutants (CO2, solvents, formaldehyde, etc.) the efficiency of employees is raised in addition. The optimal light conditions, temperature and acoustics are a further motivation for the employees. Besides all of these positive aspects, the office meanwhile must also continue to be affordable, plannable and suitable for practical use – and that it is: thanks to a comprehensive overall concept, certainty in terms of cost and planning is assured, whereby the “office of the future” can be put into practice today already.
The research results will be presented to the public at a symposium on 21/11/2019.