Sunday 23rd October 2016                 Change text size:

If Housing Industry Delivers, Consumers Will Pay More For Healthier Homes

Lydia Totterdown Bristol

According to the UK Green Building Council Task Group, the quality and design of homes and neighbourhoods is a key factor in improving the wellbeing and health of the people who live there.  Approximately 30% of renters and buyers would pay more for properties with those characteristics.

The findings are part of the “Health and Wellbeing in Homes” report produced by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), which includes consumer research by Saint-Gobain. The report aims to increase the focus of the property industry on how they can positively improve the mental, social and physical health and wellbeing of home occupiers, by providing recommendations and evidence for the industry.

According to the report, there are eighteen factors that make up a healthy home, ranging from lighting, sound insulation and materials, through to connections with the local community, and practical considerations such as having laundry provision to prevent moisture and mould build up.

Key findings of the report are:

Construction and property professionals have an opportunity to dramatically enhance the lives of people through the design and quality of homes and neighbourhoods.

It is vital to consider all three aspects of health and wellbeing equally – mental, social and physical, requiring the industry to think beyond the physical impact of design

Solutions for minimising the impact of the built environment on mental health are often the same as those required to minimise the impact on physical health- a single design feature, such as good daylight levels, good ventilation or the provision of open space, can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing and physical health so need to be considered early in the design process

Many of the design features which enhance health and wellbeing also bring positive environmental benefits. For example, better daylighting can also reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and the provision of green space can enhance biodiversity

Health and wellbeing is increasingly influencing consumers’ buying and decision-making processes, spanning generations and consumer demographics. The results of consumer research, carried out by Saint-Gobain as part of the Task Group, demonstrate that UK consumers want a home that contributes to their health and wellbeing. Furthermore, almost 30 per cent would be willing to pay more for such a home, whether buying or renting.

John Alker, Campaign and Policy Director at the UK-GBC, said: “Good health and wellbeing starts at home – from the quality of the air we breathe, or the amount of daylight we enjoy, to our access to neighbourhood amenities. This is an issue which impacts everyone, in every community in the country.

“With consumer interest in health and wellbeing showing no sign of diminishing, there is a key opportunity for the housebuilding sector to provide high quality, healthy and sustainable homes, which our evidence demonstrates buyers are starting to value.”

The report was produced by a UK-GBC Task Group comprised of companies and experts from across the built environment, which was sponsored by AkzoNobel, Forbo and Hoare Lea. “Health and Wellbeing in Homes” is one of a series of reports produced as part of the World GBC’s “Better Places for People” campaign. Other reports include “Health and Wellbeing in Offices” and “Health and Wellbeing in Retail”.

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