Loughborough University

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The well-being effects of biophilic design in workplaces: A value-based approach

conference contribution
posted on 2023-01-06, 11:48 authored by Joyce ChanJoyce Chan, Vicky LofthouseVicky Lofthouse, Robert Schmidt-IIIRobert Schmidt-III, Derek Clements-Croome

Biophilic design aims to create places where occupants connect with the natural environment. In the context of workplaces, there has been growing interest in these design strategies as they have been demonstrated to have a strong association with employees’ wellbeing. Extensive research has shown its restorative and stimulating effects on people's emotions and life satisfaction, however, biophilic design is still being seen as an expenditure rather than an investment. Evidencing good quality spatial and environmental design with a tangible financial proxy can become a driver to aid commercial decision-making; it is vital that investors can understand the co-benefits of these design strategies in the briefing and budget planning stage. This paper explores ways to link the economic value to the benefits of biophilic design. It investigates the potential of monetising well-being outcomes with Social Value methodologies.

Using a case study approach, this paper presents how spatial designers can evidence and communicate the benefits of biophilia. This pilot study is part of a doctoral research project at Loughborough University. An adapted version of the Flourish Framework is used to demonstrate the value of Well-being by design through data collected from interviews, questionnaires, and various sensors at the PLP Studio, London.

The results provid preliminary evidence that biophilic scenarios, both subjective and objective, improve well-being compared to a non-biophilic workplace setting. The research further investigated how Well-being Value can be informed by real-time sensor measurement. Applying Well-being Valuation demonstrates that indoor greenery and views out may have boosted positive emotions and yielded a higher Well-being Value. Qualitative data further revealed the positive emotions of the visual connections with plants have on the participants and this indicates why multi-sensory design is so important.

The discussion explores the potential of value mapping using sensor technology as a data source. The preliminary insights gained from this study can support designers to make a stronger business case for biophilic design, by aligning non-tangible well-being benefits to a set of monetised values with a robust methodology that commercial decision-makers can comprehend.


(AHRC) Design Star Student 2017



  • Design and Creative Arts
  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


  • Design


Transdisciplinary Workplace Research conference 2022


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© The authors

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  • en


Milan, Italy

Event dates

7th September 2022 - 10th September 2022


Dr Vicky Lofthouse. Deposit date: 5 January 2023

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