There's no question anymore that building with wood products from sustainably managed forests is the best choice for the environment. Not surprisingly, new research is showing it is the best choice for people, too.
When considering the impact of the built environment on human health, there are many reasons to build with wood instead of alternative materials. Beyond it's pleasing aesthetics, wood is hypoallergenic, has antimicrobial properties, has excellent sound absorption and does not emit VOCs. Collectively, these benefits help mitigate the negative physiological effects a building can have on occupants, creating instead natural, healthier indoor environments where people can thrive.
Recent studies suggest the use of wood indoors lowers stress reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system—which is associated with lower blood pressure, lower heart-rate, reduced psychological stress, improved resistance to illness, and a better ability to focus attention.
The term ‘biophilia’ that is commonly used today means ‘the love of living things’ in ancient Greek. Biophilic design is an antidote to humanity’s growing disconnection from nature, and the negative human health impacts resulting from increasing urbanization. By incorporating wood, other natural materials, and biophilic design principles into our buildings, we have the power to make a significant, positive impact on occupant health and well being.