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Wood and human stress in the built indoor environment: a review

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Abstract

Individuals spend most of their time indoors, and therefore indoor environments are important aspects of one’s life. Creating healthful indoor environments should be a priority for building designers, and evidence-based design decisions should be used to ensure the built environment provides healthful benefits to occupants. This review was conducted to examine the body of research studying wood use and human stress to determine the potential fit for wood in the restorative environmental design paradigm. Previous studies on psychophysiological responses to wood are reviewed, as are current methods for assessing stress in experimental settings. To date, studies examining the psychophysiological effects of wood use in interiors have revealed reduced autonomic stress responses when compared to rooms without and with less wood. Therefore, by increasing wood use in design paradigms seeking to bring the positive health benefits of nature into the built environment, like restorative environmental design, building designers may improve the well-being of building occupants. This review reveals further studies are needed to better understand the psychophysiological responses to wood, and suggests specific aspects of wood such as colour, quantity, and grain pattern should be examined and how stress and stress recovery should be analysed.

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... It appears that a relatively small wood surface does not significantly influence cognitive performance. The human visual preference for wood is the basis for the observed positive human response in wood environments (Burnard and Kutnar 2015;, and wood coverage is an important variable of wood use in wooden visual environments (Nyrud et al. 2014;Zhang et al. 2016); therefore, the effect of different wood coverages on visual preference that need to be explored further. Balling and Falk (1982) pointed out an innate or evolutionary preference for natural scenes. ...
... Wood is a natural product, and therefore people have clearly positive attitudes toward wood, and an interior room that contains wood facilitates restoration and provides stress reduction (Fell 2010;. Burnard and Kutnar (2015) reviewed the literature on the psychological responses toward wood published in the last thirty years. In these studies, it is pointed out that wood is commonly perceived as natural and warm (Rametsteiner et al. 2007). ...
... Many studies have evaluated the differences of people's preference for wood environment and non-wood environment, and results showed that wood environment had higher acceptance and preference evaluation (Spetic et al. 2007;Rice et al. 2007;Cronhjort et al. 2017). Some studies have considered the cognitive evaluation of psychological benefits provided by wood environment, such as warmth and naturalness Burnard and Kutnar 2015). There are also some studies that directly explain the specific material characteristics that affect the visual impression of wood environment, such as wood color, wood species, wood coverage, and application position of wood (Rice et al. 2007;Sakuragawa 2006;Rametsteiner et al. 2007;Masuda 2004;Tsunetsugu et al. 2005Tsunetsugu et al. , 2007. ...
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The exhausting fast pace of life in modern urban society is leading to overwhelming stress and diminished cognitive alertness. Moreover, people are spending more and more time indoors due to building densification and urban lifestyle. Therefore, indoor environments that can promote positive psychological perception will become more important. Use of wood in indoor settings and its health benefits are currently receiving increased attention from design and research communities. In this work, a comparative study was conducted on the different degrees of wood use in indoor spaces. The results show that the effect of the physical attributes of degree of wood use, wood coverage and change of wood surface (different type and application position of wood) on the visual psychological responses (visual attention and psychological impression) of wooden indoor spaces were significant. The wooden indoor spaces with medium degree of wood use were easier to get more visual attention and were more helpful to give people the psychological impression of naturalness, warmth, relaxation, and desire to use. In addition, the results also show that when considering the influence of change of wood surface, people tended to pay more attention to indoor spaces with relatively high wood coverage and preferred the experiences in such spaces. The change of wood surface was an all-important aspect that needs to be considered on top of wood coverage. These results provided guidance for the design of healthy indoor environments.
... Tyrväinen et al. 2014). Furthermore, wood as a building material has been found to positively affect human wellbeing and health, mainly due to physiological and psychological characteristics (Muilu-Mäkelä et al. 2014;Burnard and Kutnar 2015). In addition, wood material has some hygienic properties as indicated in the study of Vainio-Kaila (2017), which examined the anti-bacterial properties of wood and found that wood has various anti-bacterial qualities and several bacteria were sensitive to them. ...
... Due to its many features such as good acoustic properties (Bucur et al. 2002), wood can be used in a variety of applications (Asdrubali et al. 2017). Previous research has also indicated that wooden materials can have psychologically beneficial impacts and are associated with lower stress levels (see reviews of Nyrud and Bringslimark 2010;Burnard and Kutnar 2015); they can also affect blood pressure (Sakuragawa et al. 2005;Sakuragawa et al. 2008). ...
... While people spend many hours in indoor offices, these could be applications to increase the use of wooden interior materials (see e.g. Burnard and Kutnar 2015). Furthermore, interior materials in homes for the elderly as well as schools and day care centres made from wood could be potential applications in terms of the material's relaxing and restful effects. ...
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Wood as a renewable construction material presents positive human health, well-being and sustainability-related features. Several studies have indicated its lower carbon footprint compared to the main alternative construction materials and its physiological and psychological characteristics have positive impacts on human health. The objective of this study is to investigate how young adults perceive the health, well-being and sustainability impacts of wooden interior materials. The findings from the four focus groups indicate that generally the image of wooden materials is positive although some concerns were identified. Further, wood as an interior material is perceived to have mainly positive psychological impacts on human health and well-being. From a sustainability perspective, participants recognized both negative and positive impacts of wooden materials mainly relating to environmental sustainability. Findings also revealed that although participants appreciate health and sustainability in the contexts of housing and particularly interior materials, still the materials' appearance and the financial situation of young participants' households dictate their criteria for choosing housing. The study results suggest that positive health impacts of wood, as well as its broader sustainability impacts, should be better acknowledged and promoted more broadly in society. This could result in greater appreciation towards wood and wooden materials among consumers. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Building design, material selection, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and other aspects of the built environment may cause a variety of impacts to user health and well-being. The negative human health and well-being effects associated with spending time indoors may manifest in several ways, including: increased frequency and symptoms of illness, often associated with Sick Building Syndrome (Finnegan, Pickering, & Burge, 1984); psychophysiological well-being, often related to physical or social stress (Burnard & Kutnar, 2015;Fell, 2010;Nyrud & Bringslimark, 2010;Rice, Kozak, Meitner, & Cohen, 2006); directed attention deficits, or the reduced capability to focus ones attention on a task (Hartig, Korpela, Evans, & Gärling, 1997;Kaplan, 1995); and issues related to the ergonomic design of space that may cause musculoskeletal complications (Attaianese & Duca, 2012). ...
... Policy-makers, businesses, and other institutions that affect society can help remediate stressors by supporting healthy working and living environments, addressing poverty and other social disparities, providing security, etc. (McEwen, 2008). Another potential intervention to address stress, particularly chronic work stress, is to adapt the built environment directly to support reduced stress responses and improved recovery from stress (Burnard & Kutnar, 2015;Fell, 2010). However, practical evidence-based guidance is currently lacking on how to achieve this. ...
... User perceptions of their environment and the materials in them are based on visual recognition, haptic response, scents, and other sensory inputs (Bhatta, Tiippana, Vahtikari, Hughes, & Kyttä, 2017;Burnard, 2017;Burnard et al., 2017). Nature may be included in buildings in many ways (views, water features, plants, natural materials, variations in shape, lighting, etc.), but material selection remains a simple and widely applicable method to bring nature indoors (Burnard & Kutnar, 2015;Kellert, 2008). Using wood more abundantly may be a sustainable and cost-effective way of connecting users to the natural environment since it has been shown to be perceived as more natural than many other building materials . ...
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Stress is a major public health concern and work stress is a contributor to both acute and chronic stress. Moreover, most people spend the majority of their time indoors. It follows that the design of office spaces and other interior environments should consider the health impacts of individuals in terms of psychophysiological responses to stress. In this way, buildings can act as an environmental intervention to compliment social and therapeutic interventions to stress. In this study, human stress responses were compared in experimental office settings with and without wood. The hypothesis was that the office setting with wood furniture would reduce stress responses and improve stress recovery as indicated by salivary cortisol concentration. The within-subjects experiment revealed that overall stress levels were lower in the office-like environment with oak wood than the control room, but there was no detectable difference in stress levels between the office-like environment with walnut wood and the control room. Stress recovery was not found to differ between either environment, possibly because duration of the experiment was too short or that not enough samples were taken during the recovery period.
... According to one study, the sense of seeing or touching wood modifies the human physiological index (Ikei et al., 2017). Furthermore, it was found that wood installed indoors lowered stress (Burnard and Kutnar, 2015), enhanced sleep quality, and made individuals feel more comfortable (Morita et al., 2020). In Korea, researchers investigated effects of essential oils extracted from wood against inflammations (Yang et al., 2019), bacteria (Ham et al., 2020), and skin and lung diseases (Ahn et al., 2018(Ahn et al., , 2021. ...
... In studies on the effect of wood used in the interior of buildings, the autonomic stress response was reduced when wood was used (Burnard and Kutnar, 2015), and it was beneficial to the autonomic nervous system and respiratory system (Zhang et al., 2017). As a result of conducting a survey after living in an indoor space where wood was installed, the higher the amount of wood used, the higher the score for subjective comfort was (Tsunetsugu et al., 2007), and the decrease in insomnia improved the quality of sleep and induced comfort (Morita et al., 2020). ...
... The effectiveness of wood on people's psychological health has also been investigated by Burnard et al. [242] and Dematte et al. [221]. Surprisingly, many researchers confirm that wood surfaces, compared with other CCSs, more effectively confine microbial growth and minimise microbial transmission [243][244][245][246][247]. The study regarding the effects of exposed surfaces on hospital patients performed by Munir et al. [247] proved that using wood in such applications reduces the requirements for chemicals and antimicrobic agents for daily cleaning. ...
... Hence, similar to the findings of Pretty et al. [224] and Makram [288], which show that involving nature in people's lives will increase their health status, the current research observed that wood, as a piece of nature, has positive effects on the health of building users. In this regard, Han [225], Burnard et al. [242], and Dematte et al. [221] also demonstrate comparable results. The latter is also similar to Green's [270] statement regarding the effect that timber in his office has on his clients' emotions; in the same way, Nyrud et al.'s [289] and Bysheim et al.'s [254] findings show that wood interiors have positive effects on the recovery of patients. ...
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The health of humans and the planet are the most vital contemporary issues and essential components of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Scientists and professionals strive for integrated, evolving, healthy, and sustainable solutions encompassing biodiversity and industrial ecology, while offering viable economic attainments. The building industry, especially construction, is an extensive economic counterpart that largely influences health on various levels. On a practical scale, most direct or indirect impacts on health are related to conventional construction systems (CCSs), particularly their materialisations and implementation methods. Therefore, from a global perspective, emerging technologies or remodelled methods to accomplish sustainable use, reuse, and recycling, and improving the planet’s health to ensure the wellbeing of its inhabitants, are crucial. The current research is part of a broader study on “programmable construction systems” (PCSs), concentrating on “programmable construction materials” (PCMs) for health. Therefore, issues are reviewed, relevancies are addressed, and health-oriented concepts are discussed. Example concepts of formulation and the simplified toolkit creations follow the problems’ sources in a case study, providing insight into the resulting multiscale impacts on real-life practices. The results prove the method’s potential and validate its simplicity and applicability through an abstract examination of a newly built case study. Finally, the summarised outcomes of other extensive studies on societal preferences also confirm the feasibility of the hypothesis (i.e., the healthy materialisation) also from a social perspective.
... The transitions of materials, the intersecting points, the relationships of emptiness and fullness, and the colour attributes can create different influences on users. Studies conducted in this area (Burnard and Kutnar, 2015;Fujisaki et al., 2015;Garip and Seymen, 2021;Ikei and Miyazaki, 2020;Kır, 2015;Poirier et al., 2019;Shen et al., 2021;Watchman et al., 2017) reported that many attributes of the type of materials used in interior spaces, such as colour, texture, relationship with environment and light, affect spatial perception. The careful and correct selection of each building material in interior design is particularly important for obtaining the expected features from the surfaces formed in the space. ...
... Architectural studies until the 1980s only dwelled upon the physical attributes of the space, such as colour, light, texture, form and material. Many studies (Aydıntan, 2001;Burnard and Kutnar, 2015;Fujisaki et al., 2015;Garip and Seymen, 2021;Hidayetoglu et al., 2012;Ikei and Miyazaki, 2020;Poirier et al., 2019;Shen et al., 2021;Torres et al., 2020;Watchman et al., 2017;Yildirim et al., 2015Yildirim et al., , 2019b stated that the differences among individual characteristics, such as age, gender, occupation and the characteristics of spaces, such as size, material, colour and furniture density can have significant effects on users' perceptual evaluations. ...
Article
Purpose This study aims to determine the effects of three different carrier system materials (laminated wooden beams, post-tensioned concrete beams and steel beams) used widely in interior spaces on the perceptual evaluations of respondents. Design/methodology/approach The large opening Olympic swimming pool space was chosen as the research environment. A total of 376 university graduates participated. After experiencing the 360-degree virtual images of the experimental spaces, a “spatial perception” questionnaire was applied to these respondents. Findings The spaces using the laminated wood beams in the carrier system were perceived as warmer, lighter, more attractive, more spacious, more informal, closer, more well-planned, freer, simpler, more peaceful, more exciting, and uncrowded compared to the spaces that used post-tensioned concrete beams and steel beams. The architect respondents made more negative perceptual evaluations for all the adjective pairs compared to the respondents in the other professional groups. Respondents who were males, and in the 26–35 years of age group, perceived more positively the physical environmental factors of the virtual swimming pools compared to females, and the 36 years of age or above age group. Originality/value The results set forth that the structural elements of buildings, such as ceilings, walls and furnishings, were not only systematic elements used in the formation of the structure, they were also important environmental factors in the perceptual evaluation of the space.
... Spaces can be limited with the use of materials, the transitions of materials, the intersection points, the relations of blank space and fullness and with the colour attributes, it can form different effects on users. In similar studies made on this subject (Fujisaki et al., 2015;Burnard and Kutnar, 2015;Watchman et al., 2017;Ulusoy and Olguntürk, 2018;Garip and Seymen, 2021;Poirier et al., 2019;Shen et al., 2021;Ikei and Miyazaki, 2020), it was reported that materials used in inner spaces affect the spatial perception of many attributes, such as type, colour, the texture of materials and the relationship of environment and light. Visual perception studies are reasonably substantial to understand an environment, which has different features (Ögçe et al., 2020). ...
... In the study by Poirier et al. (2019), it was stated, "persons are adapted more to what is natural rather than artificial environments". A great variety of spatial perception studies have been conducted, which treated the different aspects of wood on the use of wood in interior spaces (Fujisaki et al., 2015;Burnard and Kutnar, 2015;Watchman et al., 2017;Ulusoy and Olguntürk, 2018;Poirier et al., 2019;Shen et al., 2021;Ikei and Miyazaki, 2020). On the other hand, in the twentieth century, the use of concrete materials became widespread and in the present-day covering materials having the appearance of gross concrete have started to be produced because of receiving interest in the use of gross concrete in interior spaces. ...
Article
Purpose This study aims to determine the effects of wall covering materials (wood, concrete and metal) used indoors on participants’ perceptual evaluations. The differences among participants’ perceptual evaluations regarding indoor physical environmental factors by occupation and gender were examined. Design/methodology/approach Cafes were selected as research environments. Virtual experimental spaces using three different wall covering materials were modelled and participants’ assessment of the physical environmental factors of these virtual spaces was measured through a detailed questionnaire. Findings Cafes using light-coloured wall covering materials were perceived more favourably than cafes using dark-coloured wall covering materials, and cafes with light-coloured wooden wall coverings were considered as a warmer material than cafes using concrete and metal. Participants who received design education (architect, interior architect) perceived physical environmental factors of cafes more negatively than those who did not receive design education (lawyer, economist, accountant, etc.). Male participants evaluated the physical environmental factors of cafes more positively than female participants for all adjective pairs. Except for two adjective pairs, no significant difference was found among the evaluations according to genders for the other adjective pairs. Originality/value This study revealed new results about customers’ choices of wall covering materials and offered designers new alternatives for materials that can be used in the design of cafes.
... Priame napojenie na región Oravy je zhmotnené najmä osadením do krajiny a terénu, použitými materiálmi a tvarovou charakteristikou jednotlivých objektov. Architekti vytvárajú exteriérové mikropriestory 18 , tri objekty tvoria uzavretý dvor (zachovanie intimity a ochrana voči prevládajúcim vetrom). Vytvárajú prekryté priestory v exteriéri v pozdĺžnom smere i na štítových stenách. ...
... Incorporating nature into the built environment, either directly (e.g., potted plants) or indirectly (e.g., tree-like columns), can reduce physiological and psychological indicators of stress while increasing productivity, creativity, and self-reported levels of well-being [17]. Research in this area provides evidence of positive health impacts for wood use in the built environment [18]. ...
... In modern society, people spend a considerable length of time indoors. Consequently, research has been undertaken to better understand the positive psychological and physiological effects of the natural environment on humans [1][2][3], which has led to an increased focus on creating natural environments indoors to improve occupants' well-being [4], and the use of wood for interior treatments may be considered one way of bringing nature indoors [5][6][7]. ...
... By contrast, few studies have experimentally investigated the physiological benefits of wood to humans. In a recent review of approximately 50 published articles on psychophysiological responses to interior wood treatments, Burnard et al. [4] attempted to classify the research into three categories: "environmental, " "psychological, " and "biological". However, only four of the 50 articles were placed in the biological (i.e., physiological) category. ...
Article
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Wood is a raw material that is used not only in the production of structural members for various buildings, but also in the interior finishes that are directly seen and touched by the occupants. Wood has also been recognized as a human-friendly material, but few studies have experimentally confirmed the physiological benefits it brings to humans. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the physiological effects of visual stimulation with wood. Two types of full-scale square, wooden-wall images composed of vertically or horizontally arranged lumber, were prepared using computer graphics and projected onto a large display to create the visual stimuli, and a gray image was also prepared as a control. Twenty-eight female Japanese university students participated in the study. The participants initially spent 60 s viewing the gray background (rest period) and then observed each of the wooden-wall images and the gray image separately in a random order for 90 s each. During the visual stimulation, the oxyhemoglobin (oxy-Hb) concentration as an indicator of prefrontal brain activity and heart rate variability as an indicator of autonomic nervous activity were continuously measured in each participant. Subjective evaluation of each visual stimulus was then performed using a modified semantic differential method and the Profile of Mood States 2nd Edition test. It was found that visual stimulation with either of the wooden interior wall images induced a significant decrease in oxy-Hb concentration in the left and right prefrontal cortex compared with the gray image. Furthermore, the subjective evaluation showed that the wooden-wall images provided a significantly more “comfortable,” “relaxed,” and “natural” impression than the gray image and decreased the negative mood states, with the vertically arranged wooden-wall image having a more positive effect than the horizontally arranged image.
... These factors lead the user to immerse in a physical space of simulated reality. Brown and Cairns (2004) address immersion in virtual environments, while Burnard and Kutnar (2015), Engineer, Sternberg and Najafi (2018), Kerr (2013) and ...
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The current speed of information may bring anxiety and stress symptoms to people’s lives. A space with multisensory elements where individuals feel immersed in welcome feelings may reduce these symptoms. Our objective is to list multisensory aspects for Surface Design to structure spatiality with immersive and relaxing attributes. We made a literature review to analyse the sensory elements that authors consider important and identified relevant multisensory aspects. We expect to contribute to projects that aim to promote well-being.
... It aimed to improve the mental health of employees by building the satisfying wooden office space through the reasonable use of wood in office furniture. However, in current furniture production, various wood-based composites are used to replace solid wood, such as plywood, particle board, MDF, etc. (Burnard and Kutnar, 2015). On this basis, the present study did not consider the wood species and number of knots in the wood environmental assessment. ...
Article
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In modern urban life, individuals are spending an increasing amount of time in the office. However, working in an uncomfortable office space for extended periods can affect the physical and mental health of employees. On this basis, it is particularly important for employees to build a comfortable and healthy office environment that is conducive to their work. The present study aimed to explore the use of wood in office furniture to build a comfortable and healthy work environment. The use of wood in office spaces can effectively relieve the mental fatigue of employees. Focusing on wooden office furniture, this study explores its influence on the aesthetic evaluation of wooden office spaces by manipulating the wood color and coverage of the wooden furniture placed in office spaces. Experimenting with these changes will optimize the application of wood in office spaces, improve employees’ mental health. The results show that wood color and coverage significantly impact the aesthetic evaluation of wooden office spaces. People exhibit higher aesthetic evaluations of light and medium wood-colored office spaces and prefer spaces with low wood coverage. The findings of this study provide a reference for the use of wooden furniture to optimize workplaces.
... The mechanism of fascination or involuntary attention [20,29], exercised by wood naturalness, would induce a relaxing effect in people, contributing to their physical and mental well-being [21] and to their attentional resources' recovery [25] after a break in a room where wood is the predominant material. In accordance with the obtained results and with the Burnard and Kutnar review [30], wood seems to be a suitable material for restorative environmental design (RED) that combines sustainable and biophilic design [31]. Table 4. Mean number (± standard deviation) of sensitivity (DP), reaction times (RT), and correct and incorrect (errors) responses in Session 1 (before the break) and in Session 2 (after the break) for NNN, NWN, WNW, and WWW groups (N = not-wood room; W= wood room). ...
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The sensitivity and interest toward well-being and health inside work and living environments is constantly growing. Wood is perceived as a natural material by people and its presence in a room generally induces beneficial effects on human beings. In this research, two real-sized identical wood and not-wood rooms have been built to study the psychological effects of a wooden indoor environment on attention recovery and restorativeness. After a multisensory evaluation of differ-ent kind of materials used in housing, participants were asked to evaluate the two rooms and then to perform an attention test two times, interspersed with a pause in one of the two rooms. The re-sults show that wood samples are more appreciated than all other materials and that a wood en-vironment induces an attentional resources’ recovery. These findings bring new insights in the in-teraction between human beings and indoor environments. This new knowledge should be taken into account in the design or renovation of buildings by architects and builders.
... Asimismo, la investigación realizada por Burnard y Kutnar (2015) sobre el estrés humano propone que, ya sea en el lugar de habitación, trabajo o institución educativa, los espacios interiores impactan la vida de sus ocupantes y tienen la capacidad de reducir enfermedades y cansancio, así como de mejorar la productividad y el rendimiento. De allí la importancia de destacar el concepto de habitabilidad propuesto por Verdugo et al. (2016) quienes mencionan que se refiere a los requerimientos de las personas usuarias de un espacio; en otras palabas, a que este cumpla con las condiciones de comodidad, privacidad, funcionalidad y agrado mínimo requeridos para sentirse a gusto. ...
Article
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El bienestar emocional en la población se ve afectado en alguna medida por el diseño de los espacios habitacionales. Esta investigación cuantitativa y correlacional analizó la relación entre componentes del diseño como la iluminación, el color, la distribución y ergonomía del espacio habitacional en el bienestar, la interacción y la vinculación afectiva al espacio en una muestra de costarricenses mayores de edad utilizando una escala propia construida para este propósito, así como dos subescalas de la Escala de Habitabilidad en Adolescentes y Adultos (EHAA) y la Escala de Bienestar subjetivo (EBS-20). Los datos se recabaron de manera virtual durante el mes de octubre del 2021 con la participación de 228 costarricenses que tuvieran más de tres meses de vivir en su actual residencia. Los resultados evidenciaron que existe una relación entre el diseño del espacio habitacional y el bienestar así como una correlación positiva entre el aumento de la edad y las emociones.
... In those cases, it is challenging to discern whether the tested environment does not lead to restoration or whether the restorative effects do exist but are not observed due to the particular study design and outcomes. This is especially problematic in studies that test for presumably smaller effects of exposure to nature in indoor spaces, where nature is present only indirectly or in smaller quantities, such as in spaces furnished with natural materials, like wood [10][11][12]. Indeed, while some studies observed promising effects of wooden indoor environments on occupants [13,14], others detected no positive effects [15], or reported inconclusive results [16]. ...
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People seem to function and feel better in indoor natural environments, including spaces furnished with wood. When restorative effects of indoor spaces are not detected, suboptimal methodological approaches may be responsible, including stress-inducing activities and measures of affective states and cognitive performance. Our primary objectives were to test (1) whether the Mental Arithmetic Task (MAT) can reliably induce stress and measure cognitive performance, and (2) whether two single-item measures of pleasure and arousal can detect changes in affective states in restoration research. Our secondary objective was to examine whether stress recovery and cognitive performance differ between indoor settings furnished with or without wood. Twenty-two participants, allocated to a space furnished with either a wooden or a white desktop, completed MAT twice, while their electrodermal and cardiovascular activity and affective states were monitored. Participants on average responded to MAT with increased subjective arousal but unchanged subjective pleasure, and with increased physiological arousal on some but not all parameters, suggesting that MAT was effortful but not necessarily stressful. Scores on MAT improved at the 2nd administration, suggesting that MAT did not induce cognitive fatigue at the 1st administration and that its role as a cognitive task in restoration research may be limited. The items assessing affective states performed well. The measured outcomes did not differ between the wooden and non-wooden setting, suggesting that substantial restorative effects of a wooden desktop are unlikely, and that higher wood coverage is needed to increase the chances of observing restorative effects.
... Similar to other natural elements, wood represents a connection to trees and nature that offers a number of health benefits for occupants [81]. It has been observed that people tend to have a positive attitude towards wood, perceiving it as a natural, warm, and healthy material [69,82]. ...
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The construction industry represents one of the greatest contributors to atmospheric emissions of CO2 and anthropogenic climate change, largely resulting from the production of commonly used building materials such as steel and concrete. It is well understood that the extraction and manufacture of these products generates significant volumes of greenhouse gases and, therefore, this industry represents an important target for reducing emissions. One possibility is to replace emissions-intensive, non-renewable materials with more environmentally friendly alternatives that minimise resource depletion and lower emissions. Although timber has not been widely used in mid- to high-rise buildings since the industrial revolution, recent advances in manufacturing have reintroduced wood as a viable product for larger and more complex structures. One of the main advantages of the resurgence of wood is its environmental performance; however, there is still uncertainty about how mass timber works and its suitability relative to key performance criteria for construction material selection. Consequently, the aim of this study is to help guide decision making in the construction sector by providing a comprehensive review of the research on mass timber. Key performance criteria for mass timber are reviewed, using existing literature, and compared with those for typical concrete construction. The review concludes that mass timber is superior to concrete and steel when taking into consideration all performance factors, and posits that the construction industry should, where appropriate, transition to mass timber as the low-carbon, high performance building material of the future.
... Novel end-user-driven design and building solutions can increase customer value in both residential and public construction and strengthen the role of construction in the bio-circular economy [91]. The roles of environmental performance, health and wellbeing, and climate policies have strengthened during the past decade in the European construction sector, due to consumer preferences and regulatory requirements [54,85,[92][93][94]. ...
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The demand for wood has increased in recent years due to new technical possibilities and environmental concerns. This paper provides an analysis of the factors that affect the use of wood in the construction sector, and an assessment of their importance in individual countries and for groups of stakeholders. The study covers the technical, societal, political, economic, and gender aspects of wood construction, with the aim of increasing global understanding regarding national differences, the current situation, and the potential for further development. The subject was investigated using a survey, and the most important opportunities for and barriers to growth in the use of wood in the construction sector were selected, following a statistical analysis. The results indicate strong regional and cultural differences regarding the acceptance of some of the opportunities and barriers related to the development of wood construction. The findings indicate that there is a need to promote wood construction based on its technical and economic benefits rather than its societal ones. On the other hand, the current societal barriers should be addressed as a priority, together with the establishment of common and harmonized policies. The results of this study, therefore, will contribute to the generation of regional-sensitive information that can be useful for policymakers when updating the building codes in their individual countries.
... The use of wood materials indoors helps to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Additionally, it can indicate furniture surface temperature by using thermochromic wood in the furniture (Burnard and Kutnar 2015;Zhu et al. 2018), and reasonable use of farmed poplar can meet users demand for thermochromic wood materials and avoid the consumption of natural forest resources. ...
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Thermochromic poplar specimens were prepared by directly filling the thermochromic dye into poplar samples. After thermochromic dye infiltration, the thermochromic poplar samples were covered by polypropylene wax for preventing thermochromic dye overflowing from thermochromic poplar under the action of phase-change temperature. This thermochromic dye is lauryl alcohol and methyl red mixture that has better permeability enabling its infiltration into wood and better thermochromic sensitivity enabling its thermochromism in short time. This thermochromic poplar, whose colour can change from light-red to dark-red at 16–30 °C, can recover to light-red at below 13 °C after about 14 h, and the peak value of colour change is at about 25 °C. Compared with the original poplar specimens, the hardness of thermochromic poplar rises by about 88.66%, the radial compressive strength increases by about 14.73%, and the radial bending strength increases by about 26.18%. Thermochromic poplar will be suitable for materials used in thermochromic furniture that can indicate the surface temperature to potential users, allowing them to assess the likely thermal comfort, and that can record the user's usage traces when touching its surface.
... These results (e.g., Figure 8) indicate that the use of the stone pine wood may positively contribute to the vagostimulant, and heart-rate-reducing effects observed in this study. Other studies have found that vagal activity can be increased by volatiles exuded from pinewood due to olfactory stimulation [12,[51][52][53][54] as well as by physical contact with the wood [13,14]. ...
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Cardiorespiratory interactions (CRIs) reflect the mutual tuning of two important organismic oscillators—the heartbeat and respiration. These interactions can be used as a powerful tool to characterize the self-organizational and recreational quality of sleep. In this randomized, blinded and cross-over design study, we investigated CRIs in 15 subjects over a total of 253 nights who slept in beds made from different materials. One type of bed, used as control, was made of melamine faced chipboard with a wood-like appearance, while the other type was made of solid wood from stone pine (Pinus cembra). We observed a significant increase of vagal activity (measured by respiratory sinus arrhythmia), a decrease in the heart rate (as an indicator of energy consumption during sleep) and an improvement in CRIs, especially during the first hours of sleep in the stone pine beds as compared to the chipboard beds. Subjective assessments of study participants’ well-being in the morning and sub-scalar assessments of their intrapsychic stability were significantly better after they slept in the stone pine bed than after they slept in the chipboard bed. Our observations suggest that CRIs are sensitive to detectable differences in indoor settings that are relevant to human health. Our results are in agreement with those of other studies that have reported that exposure to volatile phytochemical ingredients of stone pine (α-pinene, limonene, bornyl acetate) lead to an improvement in vagal activity and studies that show a reduction in stress parameters upon contact with solid wood surfaces.
... This dimension quantifies the built elements in a place possessing natural or naturallike materials, which present color variations, irregularities, and tactile textures. One of the most studied natural materials in interior spaces is wood, which reduces stress, tension, and fatigue, while increasing comfort and positive emotions (Burnard and Kutnar, 2015;Zhang et al., 2016Zhang et al., , 2017. Kellert (2008, p. 7) emphasizes that people prefer authentic natural materials over artificial ones. ...
Article
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The interactive role of the ecological, architectural, biophilic, and sensory qualities of outdoor and indoor spaces in the restorative experiences of urban inhabitants is little known. We analyzed the restorative influence on mood states and situational stress related to exposure to vegetation proportion, spatial extension, landmark salience, biophilic architecture, people density, street visual access, olfactory pleasantness, and noise of 65 public spaces in a Mexican city. The environmental qualities of these places were analyzed with multidimensional scaling (MDS), leading to eight space categories (e.g., historic squares with biophilic architecture, large parks, street scenes, and interiors with non-biophilic architecture). Ratings of the restorative potential, mood states, situational stress, olfactory pleasantness, and noise annoyance were evaluated on such places and modeled through a structural equation modeling (SEM). The model shows that the restorative influence of the environmental qualities on moods and stress was related to a decrease in experiences of negative moods and perceived stress, and an increase of positive mood states. Based on our findings, we discuss design guidelines, emphasizing the relevance of including vegetation and built elements with biophilic qualities to create restorative environments.
... In the last two decades, several studies proved that wood surfaces are better able to inhibit microbial growth and minimize certain microbial transmission (Tiwari et al. 2006;Laireiter et al. 2013;Montibus et al. 2016;Ismail et al. 2017;Pailhories et al. 2017) and aid the psychological welfare of inhabitants when used for indoor construction Burnard and Kutnar 2015;Demattè et al. 2018;Kotradyova et al. 2019). ...
Thesis
The wood material provides a nature-based theme to construction because of its natural appearance, ecofriendly nature and biophilic effects on humans. However, its organic and porous nature is questioned when using it in hygienically important places such as hospitals. Studies have shown that wood has antimicrobial properties against some pathogens; work is still needed, however, to demonstrate this antimicrobial action and its relation to wood and microbiological variables. This research gathers and generates information to guide stakeholders of hospital hygiene on the hygienic safety of wood materials. First, a simple and direct method was developed to study the antibacterial and antifungal activity of solid wood, which also identified the role of wood and microbial variables on antimicrobial behavior. Further, an elution based bacterial recovery method was investigated which showed that the most common nosocomial bacteria did not survive as well on wood as compared to smooth surfaces such as aluminum, steel and polycarbonate. Meanwhile, an innovative tool was developed, involving the use of fluorescent probes to study the bacterial distribution on and inside wood using confocal spectral laser microscopy. These experiments produced the information that will help the decision makers regarding the choice of wood material in the healthcare buildings. It not only enhances our understanding of hygienic safety of wood in healthcare buildings but also provides the basis for future research on the prevalence of pathogens in the wooden healthcare institutes and the perception of the occupants those buildings.
... The most usable material in history was wood. Waste-free properties, thermal efficiency, durability, original texture, an advantage in handling, and several additional wood attributes contribute to a comfortable and relaxing living environment [18]. Munir et al. [19] conclude that the wood's raw, brittle, and moisture-absorbing properties are often misunderstood because of its organic, porous, and moisture-absorbing surface, where the organic nature of wood makes it environment-friendly. ...
Article
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Wood is one of the most fully renewable building materials, so wood instead of non-renewable materials produced from organic energy sources significantly reduces the environmental impact. Construction products can be replenished at the end of their working life and their elements and components deconstructed in a closed-loop manner to act as a material for potential construction. Materials passports (MPs) are instruments for incorporating circular economy principles (CEP) into structures. Material passports (MPs) consider all the building’s life cycle (BLC) steps to ensure that it can be reused and transformed several times. The number of reuse times and the operating life of the commodity greatly influence the environmental effects incorporated. For a new generation of buildings, the developing of an elegant kinetic wooden façade has become a necessity. It represents a multidisciplinary region with different climatic, fiscal, constructional materials, equipment, and programs, and ecology-influencing design processes and decisions. Based on an overview of the material’s environmental profile (MEP) and material passport (MP) definition in the design phase, this article attempts to establish and formulate an analytical analysis of the wood selection process used to produce a kinetic façade. The paper will analyze the importance of environmentally sustainable construction and a harmonious architectural environment to reduce harmful human intervention on the environment. It will examine the use of wooden panels on buildings’ façades as one solution to building impact on the environment. It will show the features of the formation of the wooden exterior of the building. It will also examine modern architecture that enters into a dialogue with the environment, giving unique flexibility to adapt a building. The study finds that new buildings can be easily created today. The concept of building materials passport and the environmental selection of the kinetic wooden façade can be incorporated into the building design process. This will improve the economic and environmental impact of the building on human life.
... Selection of structural and finish materials is a decision that impacts both embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions, however, the choice is fraught with complexity and much of the necessary information is missing. Among architects, wood is generally perceived as a more environmentally sustainable and healthy material than steel or concrete (Conroy et al., 2019;Laguarda Mallo and Espinoza, 2015) and exposure to natural materials, such as wood, has been recognized to have health benefits (Fell, 2010;Kotradyova et al., 2019;Augustin and Fell, 2015;Burnard and Kutnar, 2015;Nyrud et al., 2010;Sakuragawa et al., 2005;Zhang et al., 2017). ...
Article
Indoor environmental quality is a paramount concern among architects. Exposure to VOCs and microorganisms impacts occupant health, yet the role of materials on these exposures remains poorly understood. In this study, we placed four material types in individual microcosms to test whether material type influences bacterial community structure and VOC emission. We used culture-independent methods to characterize bacterial communities and TD-GC-MS to measure VOC emission. We found that viable bacterial communities had different patterns of abundance, diversity, and composition, in comparison with total (viable plus dead cells) bacterial communities. Examining viable bacteria only, Earth had the highest abundance and diversity, unique community composition, and overall negative VOC emission. Timber had the lowest bacterial abundance, composition similar to Gypsum and Concrete, and the highest VOC emission rate. Our research provides further evidence that architects’ decisions about building materials can influence chemical and microbial exposures indoors.
... Wood is the major renewable material used for ecofriendly constructions. It has stress relieving and restorative health effects on inhabitants when used as indoor building environment [1]. Moreover, it is used as contact surface in hygienically important places [2], for example as food contact surface for cutting, preparation, packaging and fermentation. ...
Chapter
Wood, being an organic and renewable resource, is the most commonly used sustainable material for the construction of surfaces in hygienically sensitive places and has been proven to improve the psychological health and well-being of inhabitants. Still, there exists a misconception regarding the organic and porous nature of this material, which is blamed for the retention of microbes. The aim of this investigation was to study the in vitro hygienic properties of wood against nosocomial pathogens of human and animal origins. The round discs having a diameter of 9 mm with 2.5 mm thickness were prepared from the outer heartwood part of oak wood. These discs were conditioned in a climatic chamber and then packed and gamma sterilized. The four isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii, of animal and human origin (zoonotic and nosocomial), were pre-cultured. The method of direct antibiogram testing was employed. The bacterial suspension at 0.5 McFarland was inoculated on Mueller–Hinton agar plates by swab streaking method. Later, the wooden discs were directly placed on inoculated agar. After incubation for 24 h at 37 °C, the zone of inhibition on agar around the discs was noted manually. All the tests were performed in triplicates. The results showed that t wood has antimicrobial properties against nosocomial A. baumannii bacteria. Additionally, the direct antibiogram method can be used to quickly screen the antibacterial nature of wood. These properties can counter the growth of pathogens originated from multiple sources, including humans, animals, and indoor environment.
... At the same time, this organic material features the advantages of being a renewable resource. The use of wood material for the indoor construction of healthcare buildings has been shown to have a positive influence on the mental health and wellbeing of patients and medical staff, but also on physiological parameters [6,7]. Recently, some growing evidence attests that some wood species such as oak, have antimicrobial properties [8][9][10][11]. ...
Article
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Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) remain a burden in healthcare facilities, environmental surfaces being a potential reservoir for healthcare-associated pathogens. In this context, exploration of materials with potential antimicrobial activities represents a way forward for the future. Here, we explored the survival of four bacterial species commonly involved in HAI (Acinetobacter baumannii, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus), on oak versus three other materials (aluminum, polycarbonate, stainless steel). Twenty microliters of each bacterial suspension (approximatively 107 bacteria) were deposited on each material. Bacterial counts were measured by grinding and culturing on day 0, 1, 2, 6, 7 and 15. Analyses were performed in triplicate for each material and each time evaluated. It appeared that the bacteria viable count decreased rapidly on transversal and tangential oak compared with the other materials for all bacterial species. Furthermore, no difference was noticed between transversal and tangential oak. These results underline the potential for use of oak materials in healthcare facilities, a consideration that should be supported by further investigations
... Incorporating nature into the built environment, either directly (e.g., potted plants) or indirectly (e.g., tree-like columns), can reduce physiological and psychological indicators of stress, while increasing productivity, creativity, and self-reported levels of well-being (Mcsweeney et al. 2015). Research in this area provides an evidence base of positive health impacts of wood use in the built environment (Burnard and Kutnar 2015). One emerging area in this research field is Restorative Environmental and Ergonomic Design (REED), a building design paradigm that can provide guidance for wood use in buildings to improve human health (Burnard et al. 2016). ...
Book
This book provides a compendium of material properties, demonstrates several successful examples of bio-based materials’ application in building facades, and offers ideas for new designs and novel solutions. It features a state-of-the-art review, addresses the latest trends in material selection, assembling systems, and innovative functions of facades in detail. Selected case studies on buildings from diverse locations are subsequently presented to demonstrate the successful implementation of various biomaterial solutions, which defines unique architectural styles and building functions. The structures, morphologies and aesthetic impressions related to bio-based building facades are discussed from the perspective of art and innovation; essential factors influencing the performance of materials with respect to functionality and safety are also presented. Special emphasis is placed on assessing the performance of a given facade throughout the service life of a building, and after its end. The book not only provides an excellent source of technical and scientific information, but also contributes to public awareness by demonstrating the benefits to be gained from the proper use of bio-based materials in facades. As such, it will appeal to a broad audience including architects, engineers, designers and building contractors.
... Wood is a versatile material that has been used for centuries owing to its renewability, superior properties, high strength-tomass ratio, low thermal conductance, and low cost [1,2]. The demand for wood in construction (especially timber construction), furniture, and interior decoration has been increasing in recent years, [3][4][5]. ...
Article
Wood is a widely used as a construction material; however, its inflammability limits its applications in the field of construction. Moreover, high loadings of flame retardants typically required for wood impregnation in fire safety treatments cause increased hygroscopicity and non-durable flame retardance. In this study, melamine (MEL) was impregnated in the porous structure of the wood, in combination with an organic phosphoric acid (AP). Flammability characterization in terms of limiting oxygen index (LOI) and cone calorimetry tests revealed significant improvement in fire resistance of the samples due to the presence of MEL/AP in the porous structure of the wood, synthesized in situ in the wood channel with 2 wt% MEL and 25 wt% AP solutions using a two-step method. The LOI value increased from 21.0% to 68.5%, and the peak-heat-release rate and total-heat-release reduced by 41.7% and 80.2%, respectively, compared with that of the control sample. The MEL/AP synthesized in the porous wood structure improved flame retardancy, durability, and hygroscopicity. The proximity of the ammonia gas-release and wood decomposition temperatures along with the effectively formed cohesive protective and bubble-shaped-char layer enhanced the flame-retardant properties.
... There is some suggestion in the research literature to suggest that these should be associated with improved outcomes. For example, one literature review concluded that there is good early evidence to suggest that exposure to wooden environments also reduces numerous psychophysiological indicators of stress (Burnard and Kutnar, 2015), although the need for more robust research was noted. ...
Article
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Purpose: There has been limited investigation into how ‘biophilic design’ (i.e., the integration of nature within the built environment) can be effectively used within the workplace to facilitate the process of psychological restoration. This study focused in particular on the effectiveness of biophilic “restoration pods” in promoting recovery from stress. Design/Methodology/Approach: A randomised field experiment was conducted. Thirty-two employees from a participating organisation completed two tests replicating typical office work (proofreading and arithmetic) and subjective ratings of stress, anxiety, and task-load both before and after a 10-minute micro-break, taken in either the regeneration pods (treatment group) or an ordinary meeting room (control group). Findings: The results showed that participants who took their break in the regeneration pod reported lower post-break anxiety and perceived task-load, and higher post-break arithmetic task performance, than the control group. Practical implications: The findings suggest that purpose-built spaces for restoration within office buildings will be effective for helping employees to proactively manage their stress levels whilst at work. Biophilic design principles will enhance the effectiveness of these spaces, and this does not necessarily need to involve direct exposure to plants or views of nature. Originality/Value: To our knowledge, this is the first randomised field experiment to test the effectiveness of a purpose-built space for restoration within offices. Additionally, the study explores biophilic design strategies which had previously received limited attention in the research literature.
... Using wood as an exposed material in buildings where humans can directly interact with it is known to create positive psychophysiological effects ( Fig. 9.26). Research in this area provides evidence of positive health impacts of wood use in the built environment [64]. By directly or indirectly incorporating nature into the built environment, physiological and psychological indicators of stress are reduced, while productivity, creativity, and self-reported levels of well-being are increased [65]. ...
... It is perceived as more natural than other common building materials and, accordingly, indoor spaces containing more wood are rated as more natural than their counterparts [6][7][8]. The current research inspects how humans can be affected through visual, tactile, and olfactory wood stimulation [9][10][11]. Of these, visual and tactile stimulation of wood might be easier to implement on a wider scale, as it seems challenging for indoor wood furnishings to provide longterm olfactory stimulation that is as intense as the one delivered in the experiments observing positive findings [12]. ...
Article
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Visual and tactile properties of materials can influence human emotional and cognitive functioning. Existing studies indicate that exposure to wood may lead to more favourable outcomes than contact with other common materials, but evidence is limited. We measured affective states and cognitive performance in 16 participants before and after each spent 15 min at 10 desks with differing top surfaces. Desk surfaces were made of untreated, oiled, or lacquered spruce or oak solid wood, laminated or oak-veneered particleboard, glass, and mineral-filled thermoplastic composite. The results indicate that cognitive performance and affective states of participants did not differ between the desk surfaces. It appears that exposure to a relatively small wooden surface does not significantly influence affective and cognitive outcomes. Incorporating larger amounts of wood coverage and a more demanding cognitive task would probably increase the chances of capturing the potential effects of wood exposure on human affective states and cognitive performance.
... Our objectives were to review the existing randomized controlled trials in order (a) to assess the effects of visual contact with wooden surfaces in the indoor environment on at least one physiological, affective or cognitive performance outcome (compared to visual contact with any other surface) in the entire population; (b) to identify positive and negative aspects of study designs and (c) to develop recommendations for future robust studies. Compared to the existing reviews, 39,40 this review is the first to address the methodological issues in-depth and use the resulting insights to critically evaluate the reviewed research. In addition, this article examines several recent studies that were not included in the previous reviews. ...
Article
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Background Bringing features of nature indoors can positively influence indicators of human stress. Since wood is a natural material, it may produce similar benefits. The objective of the review was to (1) examine the influence of visual (real or virtual) contact with either real or imitated indoor wooden surfaces on certain stress indicators, that is affective, physiological or cognitive performance outcomes (compared to non-wooden surfaces) and to (2) assess the methodological quality of the reviewed studies. Method We conducted a systematic literature search for English articles on Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Central and Google Scholar on 6 August 2019. The results of the eligible studies were synthesized narratively in light of the identified methodological shortcomings. Results We reviewed nine studies with 386 participants in total. Studies with longer exposure times to wood generally observed improved affective states and decreased physiological arousal in wooden settings, but the results are not entirely clear-cut. We discuss several methodological issues uncovered in the reviewed studies and provide guidelines for future robust research. Conclusions Current evidence suggests that visual wood exposure may improve certain indicators of human stress, but additional research is needed to confirm the existing findings.
... Research on wood as a housing material has concentrated on wood use in interiors and furniture (e.g., Hakala, Autio, & Toppinen, 2015;Scrinzi, Rossi, Deflorian, & Zanella, 2011) along with it being a possible solution for moisture and air quality problems in housing (Burnard & Kutnar, 2015;Nyrud & Bringslimark, 2010). ...
Article
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Having a home is a central part of the everyday consumer experience. In our study, we focus on Finnish homeowners who have recently bought an apartment in a multi‐family timber‐framed building. With its merits in sustainability, the number of timber buildings in less‐traditional urban applications is increasing, yet research on living in a wooden home is scarce. To fill this gap, the study analyses how homeowners perceive the wooden material before and after living in a wooden home for one year. Thus, besides the acquisition of a home, the study examines the consumers’ appropriation processes and aims to gain insight into the cultural sense‐making behind the appreciation of wooden homes. The results of this qualitative study indicate that traditions and memories related to wood affect consumers’ appreciations, for example, regarding the cosiness of a wooden home. The consumers discussed the weaknesses assigned to wood, such as fire and moisture susceptibility, yet they considered them to concern all construction materials, not only wood. After habitation for one year, the usability of the home becomes particularly relevant, including the ease with which shelves can be mounted onto the walls, enjoying the echoless soundscape, and living with clicking sounds and vibrating floors. The study suggests that the meanings of consumers’ daily experiences concerning the usability of wooden buildings are under negotiation and cannot be reduced simply into positive or negative but carry elements of both.
... Further, another review article on wood use for built indoor environments reported that autonomic stress responses reduced with the use of wood for interiors compared with the absence of or use of less wood for interiors of rooms [3]. An experimental study with 15 participants evaluated comfort relative to the amount of wood used for interiors and found that the interiors that had 45% wood had the highest score for a subjective comfortable feeling compared with those with 0% and 90% wood in the designated room [4]. ...
Article
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Several priority characteristics of wood that have beneficial effects on human beings have been reported. However, the advantages of wood use in bedroom interiors for sleep have not been fully evaluated. The aim of this cross-sectional epidemiological study was to evaluate the association of wood use in housing and bedrooms with comfort in the bedroom and sleep among workers in Japan. The study methods included sleep measurements using actigraphy and a self-administered questionnaire survey. In total, 671 workers (298 men and 373 women; mean age ± standard deviation: 43.3 ± 11.2 years) were included in the analysis. The amount of wood used in bedrooms was significantly associated with comfort in bedrooms, inversely associated with suspicion of insomnia, partly inversely associated with self-rated poor sleep quality, but not associated with low sleep efficiency. On logistic regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of the “large amount of wood” group relative to the “no wood” group was 3.25 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.63–6.47] for comfort. The aOR of the “no wood” group relative to the “large amount of wood” group was 2.15 (95% CI 1.11–4.16) for suspicion of insomnia. Wood structure of housing, as well as wood use on either the floor, wall, or ceiling, were not significantly associated with comfort and sleep conditions. Our study suggested that the use of a large amount of wood used in the bedroom interior could be beneficial for comfort, sleep, and therefore, health of workers. Further studies are required to obtain generalizable results.
... These characteristics provide its owner with psychological and physiological satisfaction but also increase the value of a product by surface decoration with wood-like materials (such as wood veneer or decorative paper, Fig. 1b). Therefore, products with wood texture characteristics are commonly used in indoor applications, such as wooden floors and furniture (Nakamura et al. 2010;Cristea et al. 2011;Burnard and Kutnar 2015;Lozhechnikova et al. 2017) (Fig. 1c). Due to the decreasing wood resources and the increasing price of rare wood species (the appearance of rare species is popular in wooden products), wood veneer and decorative paper with printed wood texture are glued onto wood-or composite-based materials to replace wooden materials in many applications, especially furnishings (Roberts and Evans 2005;Kandelbauer and Teischinger 2010;Guo et al. 2016;Zhou et al. 2017). ...
Article
Wood texture has a beautiful appearance and tactile feeling, making it very appropriate for furniture applications. However, the fabrication of a wood texture on wood-based boards can be inefficient and less green when performed using conventional methods. In this study, a wood-like surface on a wood-based board was designed to imitate a wood texture using 3D printing technology. To obtain a high-quality wood texture template for 3D printing, the sharpness of the wood texture was evaluated by image sharpness models, and the scanned wood texture was optimized by colorimetric parameter and sharpness adjustments. The wood texture coating, which was mainly composed of acrylated oligomers, was UV-inkjet 3D printed on the medium-density fiberboard (MDF) from an obtained template. The properties of the printed wood texture coating on the MDF, including its gloss, wearability, adhesion, and hardness, were measured. The results showed that a wood texture coating with high processability can be feasibly 3D printed on MDF to obtain comparable decoration using commercial products.
... Application of the wood significantly supports regenerative effect of built-environment for the human nervous system and it can contribute to recovery in the health care facilities. Research in this area provides an evidence base of positive health impacts of wood used in the built environment [3]. However, the measurement of perception of aesthetical quality of materials is challenging [4]. ...
Article
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This article describes modern wireless sen-sor devices and their application in the measurements of the human physiology. We used our own advanced ECG Holter device and EEG helmet to record the heart and brain activity impacted by different environments, materials, colors or body positions during work. In this paper, we want to show the interactions between humans and architecture design, which modify human work performance and well-being. This paper is a conclusion of the 3 different pilot studies, where different scopes of human-space interaction were explored. In the experiments, we aimed mostly at wood materials and their beneficial effects on the nervous system. The research in its actual state is primarily focused on optimizing the methods of the ECG data analysis from our Holter device and the EEG data from helmet. Based on these data, we will improve the methodology of theexperiments for the next enhanced research with aspiration to automate data analysis.
... Environmental settings built with a prevalence of natural materials, particularly wood, affects the user´s nervous system in a positive way. It contributes to stress processing and can contribute to shortening the patients' treatment, as demonstrated by several global studies [21][22][23][24][25][26]. Moreover, our results and findings support these findings. ...
Article
Full-text available
The paper presents the application of natural materials, especially wood, which are relevant for human well-being in built environments of health, social, and day care facilities. These properties were tested by a complex methodology in a case study in the wooden waiting room at National Oncology Institute in Bratislava. In this space, experimental tests of physiological responses were further executed on 50 volunteers moving in the waiting room for 20 min. In this article, the EEG (electroencephalograph) (four persons) and emotions from the faces of all our volunteers before entering and after a stay in a wooden waiting room were recorded. Specifically, the ECG (electrocardiograph), heart rate (HR), and respiration activity were measured by using our own designed ECG holter (40 persons), and also blood pressure and cortisol levels were observed. The usage of wooden materials verifies their regenerative and positive impact on the human nervous system, through the appealing aesthetics (color, texture, and structures), high contact comfort, pleasant smell, possibility to regulate air humidity, volatile organic compound emissions (VOC-emissions), and acoustic well-being in the space.
... The use of interior wooden materials has been found to have effects on reducing autonomic stress responses, tension and fatigue, increasing positive emotions and comfortability. [30][31][32] In addition to virtual exposure, haptic exposure such as touching wood has been found to have the effect on inducing physiological relaxation. 33 Lastly, natural forms and organizations in architecture were thought valuable for human emotional and cognitive function, but little empirical evidence has been provided. ...
Article
Biophilia hypothesis suggests humans have an innate connection to nature which may affect our health and productivity. Yet we currently live in a world that is rapidly urbanizing with people spending most of their time indoors. We designed a randomized crossover study to let 30 participants experience three versions of biophilic design in simulated open and enclosed office spaces in virtual reality (VR). Throughout the VR session, we measured blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability and skin conductance level, and administered cognitive tests to measure their reaction time and creativity. Compared to the base case, participants in three spaces with biophilic elements had consistently lower level of physiological stress indicators and higher creativity scores. In addition, we captured the variation in the intensity of virtual exposure to biophilic elements by using eye‐tracking technology. These results suggest that biophilic interventions could help reduce stress and improve creativity. Moreover, those effects are related to both the type of biophilic elements and may be different based on the workspace type (open vs. enclosed). This research demonstrates that VR simulated office spaces are useful in differentiate responses to two configurations and among biophilic elements. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
A blue thermochromic dye (B-TD) was prepared by mixing crystal violet lactone (CVL), hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA) and myristic acid myristyl ester (MME). B-TD is a phase-changing material and can change colour at above 32°C about 5 s. The B-TD can permeate into pre-treated pinewood samples about 8–10 mm from the surface of samples after immersed pre-treated pinewood samples in B-TD for about 10 min at 70 °C. A blue thermochromic pinewood (B-TP) was prepared by filled the B-TD into pre-treated pinewood and covered polypropylene wax that can prevent B-TD overflowing from wood-based material when at phase-changing temperature. The B-TP can change colour from dark blue to light blue at 38–48°C, and can recover dark blue at below 38°C after about 5 h. B-TP can be used in a kind of pinewood woodwork that can indicate the temperature of woodwork surface to users by its colour-change phenomenon at 38–48°C, covering the lowest temperature of cryogenic burns (42°C), so this kind of pinewood woodwork can warn the temperature of cryogenic burns for avoiding cryogenic burns by its colour-change phenomenon.
Article
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The increased use of wood and prefabrication are solutions that are helping to address current and future challenges in the construction sector. However, these practices are slow to become widespread due to the conservative nature of this industry. The objective of this study is to characterize the social representations of Province of Quebec (Canada) individuals with regard to these construction methods in order to determine the motivations and barriers to their use in the construction of multi-story housing. The social representations of a representative panel of the Quebec population were collected through standardized surveys. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results indicate that the use of wood in the construction of high-rise multi-story housing is not part of the representations of a majority of Quebecers. The motivations identified are the aesthetics of wood and the environmental aspect, although forestry exploitation remains an important concern for respondents. The main barriers are the safety aspect and lifespan because they tend to dominate the other themes in decision making. The results suggest that the acceptance and adoption of these construction methods by users can be improved by adapting the transfer of knowledge towards the negatively perceived themes and the identified social groups.
Article
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The personal thermal comfort model is used to design and control the thermal environment and predict the thermal comfort responses of individuals rather than reflect the average response of the population. Previous individual thermal comfort models were mainly focused on a single material environment. However, the channels for individual thermal comfort were various in real life. Therefore, a new personal thermal comfort evaluation method is constructed by means of a reliable decision-based fuzzy classification model from two views. In this study, a two-view thermal comfort fuzzy classification model was constructed using the interpretable zero-order Takagi–Sugeno–Kang (TSK) fuzzy classifier as the basic training subblock, and it is the first time an optimized machine learning algorithm to study the interpretable thermal comfort model is used. The relevant information (including basic information, sampling conditions, physiological parameters, physical environment, environmental perception, and self-assessment parameters) was obtained from 157 subjects in experimental chambers with two different materials. This proposed method has the following features: (1) The training samples in the input layer contain the feature data under experimental conditions with two different materials. The training models constructed from the training samples under these two conditions complement and restrict each other and improve the accuracy of the whole model training. (2) In the rule layer of the training unit, interpretable fuzzy rules are designed to solve the existing layers with the design of short rules. The output of the intermediate layer of the fuzzy classifier and the fuzzy rules are difficult to explain, which is problematic. (3) Better decision-making knowledge information is obtained in both the rule layer of the single-view training model and in the two-view fusion model. In addition, the feature mapping space is generated according to the degree of contribution of the decision-making information from the two single training views, which not only preserves the feature information of the source training samples to a large extent but also improves the training accuracy of the model and enhances the generalization performance of the training model. Experimental results indicated that TMV-TSK-FC has better classification performance and generalization performance than several related state-of-the-art non-fuzzy classifiers applied in this study. Significantly, compared with the single view fuzzy classifier, the training accuracies and testing accuracies of TMV-TSK-FC are improved by 3–11% and 2–9%, respectively. In addition, the experimental results also showed good semantic interpretability of TMV-TSK-FC.
Article
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Wood is an important material used in decorating human living environment. Knots are prominent features found on wood surface. Moreover, they are commonly considered as undesirable surface defects, which reduce not only the mechanical properties but also the aesthetic qualities of lumber. The effects of visual stimulation using knotty wood on psychological responses among humans have been relatively well investigated. However, only few studies have assessed physiological responses. Hence, the present study aimed to assess whether knotty wood surface can reduce not only psychological but also physiological benefits for humans. Two full-sized knotty wooden-wall images and a clear wooden-wall image were used as visual stimuli using computer graphics techniques. Twenty-eight adult Japanese female university students viewed each image for 90 s in random order. During exposure to the visual stimuli, the oxyhemoglobin concentrations in the left and right prefrontal cortex and heart rate variability were consecutively measured and utilized as indicators of central and autonomic nervous system activities, respectively. In addition, the psychological effects of knotty images were examined using the modified semantic differential method and the Profile of Mood State 2nd Edition. There was no significant difference in the effects of the three images on physiological responses. All visual stimuli more or less promoted psychological comfort and relaxation. However, compared with the clear wooden-wall image, the wooden-wall image with several knots was associated with reduced psychological benefits, and the psychological responses in viewing the wooden-wall image with few knots did not remarkably differ.
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Nowadays, the topic of restorative experience in built environments has attracted more attention because of the increasing stress levels in modern society. Researchers have sought to identify the architectural features that influence a person's perceived restorative experience to achieve human-centered architectural designs. However, the relevant design knowledge is unsystematically scattered, making it difficult for designers to interpret information and make informed decisions in practice. This paper explores the feasibility of machine learning in capturing the restorative quality of design alternatives, thereby providing decision support for proactive architectural design analysis. To deal with feature selection and the uncertainty associated with affective modeling, a framework is introduced that integrates design of experiments and machine learning methods. The human restorative experience is assessed within non-immersive VR environments using self-reported psychometric scales. Consequently, general regression neural network is revealed as superior to other machine learning methods in forecasting the restorative experience.
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Tactile interaction between humans and elements in the built environment, such as furniture, is often under-appreciated. The aim of this study was to objectively evaluate thermal properties of ten tabletop materials as well as user perceptions of those materials after use. Sixteen participants tested ten materials in a randomised order. Infrared thermography was used to determine tabletop temperature distribution and change. Materials with lower thermal effusivity (wood-based materials) in general reached higher surface temperature differences after 15 min of contact and were rated as more pleasant to touch, more suitable for writing, and more liked for everyday use. Participants' sex and forearm mass had no effect on the temperature after contact. Participants gave the highest ratings to the appearance of oak-based materials. Surface treatment affected subjective evaluation of the materials. The tabletop made of lacquered solid wood had the most favourable thermal and user-rated characteristics.
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Objective – The aim of the study is to provide planning recommendations for special care units for patients with dementia in general hospitals. Therefore, (1) an overview of existing structural concepts and, (2) results of a systematic environmental assessment regarding the dementia-sensitivity of the built environment will be presented. Background – Due to demographic change, the number of acutely ill, geriatric patients with additional cognitive impairments in hospitals is increasing. Since this patient group often shows adverse outcomes during their hospital stay, specialised wards ("special care units") have been implemented as part of dementia-friendly hospital concepts. In Germany, the number of special care units has been rising over the last years and more than forty units are currently known. Research has shown positive effects on patients’ self-care and mobility as well as a decrease in challenging behaviour. However, an overview of spatial concepts, which can serve as basis for planning recommendations, is missing. Research question – What are architectural characteristics of special care units for the care of patients with dementia in general hospitals and how is dementia-friendly design implemented? Methods – Site visits and interviews with responsible medical and nursing staff leaders of special care units in German general hospitals (N=20) were conducted. The implementation of dementia-friendly design recommendations based on publications by Hofmann et al. 2014 and King’s Fund 2014 was systematically documented. Additionally, floor plans of the units were analysed regarding their integration into the building structure, spatial programmes and use of space. Implementation of design criteria was discussed in the light of planning recommendations for dementiafriendly hospital wards given by Büter et al. 2017 Results – The units differed greatly in terms of their building structure and their spatial programs. The floor space per unit varied from 120 to 1200 sqm depending on the number of beds in the units starting from 6 to 30 beds. Three types of structural concepts were identified which were characterised by their spatial organisation within the building and the resulting autonomy in the workflow of the units. Regarding the implementation of dementia-friendly design recommendation, it was found that especially interior design elements, such as colour contrasts or visual cues to improve visibility of patient-relevant objects, were often used. Conclusion – A high number of individual spatial concepts for special care units exists in German hospitals. These concepts were highly dependent on specific building conditions and functional requirements, especially fire protection, hygiene and floor plan structure. The implementation of some core recommendations, such as a visual relationship between areas for patients and nurses, requires early consideration in planning processes as it refers to the building structure. Otherwise, these implementations may result in extra effort in terms of construction works and financial expenses.
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Teak is a type of tree that produces high quality wood. Large tree, straight trunk, can grow to a height of 30-40 m. In the developing teak parquet industry, the process of selecting raw materials is very important. This is due to the many types, types and classes of wood texture. The choice of wood texture is still widely used by human workers, most of which require a long time and the results obtained are still inaccurate. This study aims to solve the problem of quality teak grouping based on image texture by creating a computerized system or application using the K-means algorithm. With this method, it is hoped that the classification of the quality of teak can be described more easily based on the texture of the image. Based on the results of system design and testing, the application can group the quality of teak wood based on the texture and color of the image
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In this article, various manufacturing processes for the production of engineered wood and wood based composites have been discussed. Most of the plastic material based industries were using these processes for a long time but now industries have found these methods suitable for wooden material as well. Some basic processes like extrusion and wet sheet formation are used to give shape and form to the product and the final shape is in the form of beam block or sheet generally. For complex profile and prototyping, injection moulding and 3D moulding processes are preferred. However, the selection of these methods may increase the production cost. Some other new technologies like selective laser sintering technique play a vital role in wooden prototyping and customized designing sector.
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Environmental issues and health-benefitting design strategies have raised interest in natural and renewable building materials, resulting in an increased focus on the use of wood in built environment. The influence of wooden materials on measured and perceived indoor environment quality (IEQ) has gained attention during the past few decades, with a growing number of studies having explored the issue. This review was conducted to examine and summarise the body of research on the influence of wooden interior materials on IEQ, with an emphasis on the following themes: emissions of chemical compounds, moisture buffering of indoor air, antibacterial effects, acoustics, and psychological and physiological effects. This review found that wooden interior materials exert mainly positive or neutral effects on IEQ, such as moderating humidity fluctuations of indoor air, inducing positive feelings in occupants, and inhibiting certain bacteria. Negative effects on IEQ are limited to volatile organic compounds emitted from wood. The odour thresholds of some aldehydes and terpenes are low enough to affect the perceived IEQ. Additionally, concentrations of formaldehyde and acrolein may under certain conditions cause adverse health effects. Further studies are needed to better understand these phenomena and take advantage of the beneficial effects while hindering the unpleasant ones.
Thesis
Humans thermally adapt and respond to the thermal environment in a number of ways, including psychologically. Preliminary evidence suggests that wood can lead to a perceived sensation of warmth while thermal history has been shown to affect the perception of thermal comfort. This thesis investigates two questions: (1) does wood material improve thermal comfort? (2) does thermal history impact present thermal comfort? To explore these questions, two thermal comfort studies were conducted in a controlled laboratory setting. In the first, participants evaluated their thermal comfort with wood and white wall treatments while the thermal environment changed dynamically between warm and cool. The second tested the same wall treatments in a steady-state thermal environment. The first study indicates that recent thermal history impacts thermal perception, and no effect of wall treatment on thermal perception was found. The second study suggests that wood had a cooling effect.
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6–1 When sawn, a log yields round timber, ties, or lumber of varying quality. This chapter presents a general discussion of grading, standards, and specifications for these commer-cial products. In a broad sense, commercial lumber is any lumber that is bought or sold in the normal channels of commerce. Com-mercial lumber may be found in a variety of forms, species, and types, and in various commercial establishments, both wholesale and retail. Most commercial lumber is graded by standardized rules that make purchasing more or less uni-form throughout the country. Round timbers and ties represent some of the most effi-cient uses of our forest resources. They require a minimum of processing between harvesting the tree and marketing the structural commodity. Poles and piles are debarked or peeled, seasoned, and often treated with preservative prior to use as structural members. Construction logs are usually shaped to facilitate construction. Ties, used for railroads, landscaping, and mining, are slab-cut to provide flat surfac-es. Because these products are relatively economical to pro-duce compared with glulam, steel, and concrete products, they are commonly used throughout the United States. To enable users to buy the quality that best suits their pur-poses, lumber, round timbers, and ties are graded into use categories, each having an appropriate range in quality. Generally, the grade of a piece of wood is based on the num-ber, character, and location of features that may lower its strength, durability, or utility value. Among the more com-mon visual features are knots, checks, pitch pockets, shake, and stain, some of which are a natural part of the tree. Some grades are free or practically free from these features. Other grades, which constitute the great bulk of solid wood prod-ucts, contain fairly numerous knots and other features. With proper grading, lumber containing these features is entirely satisfactory for many uses. The grading operation for most solid wood products takes place at the sawmill. Establishment of grading procedures is largely the responsibility of manufacturers' associations. Be-cause of the wide variety of wood species, industrial practic-es, and customer needs, different grading practices coexist. The grading practices of most interest are considered in the sections that follow, under the major categories of hardwood lumber and softwood lumber, round timbers, and ties.
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This paper examines the energy and carbon balance of two residential house alternatives; a typical wood frame home using more conventional materials (brick cladding, vinyl windows, asphalt shingles, and fibreglass insulation) and a similar wood frame house that also maximizes wood use throughout (cedar shingles and siding, wood windows, and cellulose insulation) in place of the more typical materials used – a wood-intensive house. Carbon emission and fossil fuel consumption balances were established for the two homes based on the cumulative total of three subsystems: (1) forest harvesting and regeneration; (2) cradle-to-gate product manufacturing, construction, and replacement effects over a 100-year service life; and (3) end-of-life effects – landfilling with methane capture and combustion or recovery of biomass for energy production.
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The study of how people's psychological health and well-being can be connected to wood used in appearance applications is a new and relatively unexplored area of inquiry, despite strong theoretical support, intuitive reasoning, and a growing recognition of the importance of healthful living. This research attempted to better understand this phenomenon by mapping out people's perceptions of wood used in interior applications. Specifically, the aim of this exploratory study was to determine what types of environments appearance wood products can create and to gauge whether or not the use of these types of products could have positive impacts on people's emotional states. To that end, a total of 119 respondents from the Greater Vancouver Regional Area were asked to partake in a three-part experimental study, consisting of a q-sort exercise, personal interviews, and a self-administered survey. The findings suggest that people's response to wood is, for the most part, extremely positive, with subjects generally showing a strong preference for rooms containing many wood details. There also appears to be a strong belief that the use of wood can help to create healthful environments, and commonly evoked descriptors for wood rooms include "warm," "comfortable," "relaxing," "natural," and "inviting." The reasons underlying these findings are complex and further exploration rooted in the field of environmental psychology is warranted. However, the results of this study could have potentially far-reaching implications for manufacturers of appearance wood products seeking to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Specifically, these findings point to an opportunity to market wood in an entirely new and innovative manner with the inclusion of potential psychological benefits into the total product concept.
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Attention Restoration Theory (ART) proposes that effortful directed attention can become fatigued in modern urban environments. Restoration can occur in a setting that evokes fascination (effortless attention). Ordinary natural settings evoke soft fascination, that is, moderate fascination accompanied by esthetic pleasure. Such settings enable a fully restorative experience, including the recovery of directed attention and the opportunity for serious reflection. Settings broadly classified as sports/entertainment are more likely to evoke hard fascination, that is, very high levels of fascination that fill the mind. Such settings permit directed attention recovery but afford little opportunity for reflection. We tested these ideas by having participants rate the perceived restorative effectiveness of three kinds of settings (ordinary natural, sports/entertainment, and everyday urban) under two goal-set conditions (as places for attentional recovery or for reflection). Ordinary natural settings were seen as having the highest overall restorative effectiveness, everyday urban settings as having the lowest, and sports/entertainment settings as in between. Moreover, sports/entertainment settings were seen as higher in restorative effectiveness for the attentional-recovery goal set than for the reflection goal set. No such goal-set difference occurred for the other two setting categories combined. These results are in agreement with the predictions of ART.
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Different conceptual perspectives converge to predict that if individuals are stressed, an encounter with most unthreatening natural environments will have a stress reducing or restorative influence, whereas many urban environments will hamper recuperation. Hypotheses regarding emotional, attentional and physiological aspects of stress reducing influences of nature are derived from a psycho-evolutionary theory. To investigate these hypotheses, 120 subjects first viewed a stressful movie, and then were exposed to color/sound videotapes of one of six different natural and urban settings. Data concerning stress recovery during the environmental presentations were obtained from self-ratings of affective states and a battery of physiological measures: heart period, muscle tension, skin conductance and pulse transit time, a non-invasive measure that correlates with systolic blood pressure. Findings from the physiological and verbal measures converged to indicate that recovery was faster and more complete when subjects were exposed to natural rather than urban environments. The pattern of physiological findings raised the possibility that responses to nature had a salient parasympathetic nervous system component; however, there was no evidence of pronounced parasympathetic involvement in responses to the urban settings. There were directional differences in cardiac responses to the natural vs urban settings, suggesting that attention/intake was higher during the natural exposures. However, both the stressor film and the nature settings elicited high levels of involuntary or automatic attention, which contradicts the notion that restorative influences of nature stem from involuntary attention or fascination. Findings were consistent with the predictions of the psycho-evolutionary theory that restorative influences of nature involve a shift towards a more positively-toned emotional state, positive changes in physiological activity levels, and that these changes are accompanied by sustained attention/intake. Content differences in terms of natural vs human-made properties appeared decisive in accounting for the differences in recuperation and perceptual intake.
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Records on recovery after cholecystectomy of patients in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital between 1972 and 1981 were examined to determine whether assignment to a room with a window view of a natural setting might have restorative influences. Twenty-three surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses' notes, and took fewer potent analgesics than 23 matched patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall.
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This paper describes a protocol for induction of moderate psychological stress in a laboratory setting and evaluates its effects on physiological responses. The 'Trier Social Stress Test' (TSST) mainly consists of an anticipation period (10 min) and a test period (10 min) in which the subjects have to deliver a free speech and perform mental arithmetic in front of an audience. In six independent studies this protocol has been found to induce considerable changes in the concentration of ACTH, cortisol (serum and saliva), GH, prolactin as well as significant increases in heart rate. As for salivary cortisol levels, the TSST reliably led to 2- to 4-fold elevations above baseline with similar peak cortisol concentrations. Studies are summarized in which TSST-induced cortisol increases elucidated some of the multiple variables contributing to the interindividual variation in adrenocortical stress responses. The results suggest that gender, genetics and nicotine consumption can influence the individual's stress responsiveness to psychological stress while personality traits showed no correlation with cortisol responses to TSST stimulation. From these data we conclude that the TSST can serve as a tool for psychobiological research.
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To summarize briefly, key general points in this presentation include the following: To promote wellness, healthcare facilities should be designed to support patients in coping with stress. As general compass points for designers, scientific research suggests that healthcare environments will support coping with stress and promote wellness if they are designed to foster: 1. Sense of control; 2. Access to social support; 3. Access to positive distractions, and lack of exposure to negative distractions; A growing amount of scientific evidence suggests that nature elements or views can be effective as stress-reducing, positive distractions that promote wellness in healthcare environments. In considering the needs of different types of users of healthcare facilities--patients, visitors, staff--it should be kept in mind that these groups sometimes have conflicting needs or orientations with respect to control, social support, and positive distractions. It is important for designers to recognize such differing orientations as potential sources of conflict and stress in health facilities (Schumaker and Pequegnat, 1989). For instance, a receptionist in a waiting area may understandably wish to control the programs on a television that he or she is continuously exposed to; however, patients in the waiting area may experience some stress if they cannot select the programs or elect to turn off the television. Some staff may prefer bright, arousing art for corridors and patient rooms where they spend much of their time; however, for many patients, such art may increase rather than reduce stress. A difficult but important challenge for designers is to be sensitive to such group differences in orientations, and try to assess the gains or losses for one group vis-a-vis the other in attempting to achieve the goal of psychologically supportive design. Designers should also consider programs or strategies that combine or mesh different stress-reducing components. For example, it seems possible that a program enabling patients to select at least some of their wall art or pictures would foster both control and access to positive distraction. As another example, the theory outlined in this paper suggests that an "artist-in-residence" program, wherein an artist with a caring, supportive disposition would work with patients, might foster social support in addition to control and access to positive distraction. Running through this presentation is the conviction that scientific research can be useful in informing the intuition, sensitivity, and creativity of designers, and thereby can help to create psychologically supportive healthcare environments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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This meta-analysis reviews 208 laboratory studies of acute psychological stressors and tests a theoretical model delineating conditions capable of eliciting cortisol responses. Psychological stressors increased cortisol levels; however, effects varied widely across tasks. Consistent with the theoretical model, motivated performance tasks elicited cortisol responses if they were uncontrollable or characterized by social-evaluative threat (task performance could be negatively judged by others), when methodological factors and other stressor characteristics were controlled for. Tasks containing both uncontrollable and social-evaluative elements were associated with the largest cortisol and adrenocorticotropin hormone changes and the longest times to recovery. These findings are consistent with the animal literature on the physiological effects of uncontrollable social threat and contradict the belief that cortisol is responsive to all types of stressors.
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The purpose of this study is to examine the physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the atmosphere of the forest). The subjects were 12 male students (22.8+/-1.4 yr). On the first day of the experiments, one group of 6 subjects was sent to a forest area, and the other group of 6 subjects was sent to a city area. On the second day, each group was sent to the opposite area for a cross check. In the forenoon, the subjects were asked to walk around their given area for 20 minutes. In the afternoon, they were asked to sit on chairs and watch the landscapes of their given area for 20 minutes. Cerebral activity in the prefrontal area and salivary cortisol were measured as physiological indices in the morning at the place of accommodation, before and after walking in the forest or city areas during the forenoon, and before and after watching the landscapes in the afternoon in the forest and city areas, and in the evening at the place of accommodation. The results indicated that cerebral activity in the prefrontal area of the forest area group was significantly lower than that of the group in the city area after walking; the concentration of salivary cortisol in the forest area group was significantly lower than that of the group in the city area before and after watching each landscape. The results of the physiological measurements show that Shinrin-yoku can effectively relax both people's body and spirit.
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Over the past decades, a number of empirical studies have documented that nature or elements of nature in both outdoor and indoor settings can be beneficial for human health and well-being. Wood is a natural product and it is therefore relevant to investigate whether interior wood use might have some of the same beneficial effects. The aim of the present study is therefore to investigate whether interior wood use might be psychologically beneficial by reviewing studies that have investigated psychological responses toward wood. The study also provides a general introduction to theories that can help explain why wood might be psychologically beneficial. Studies related to psychological responses toward interior wood use have generally focused on three different outcomes: 1) perception of wood, including both visual perception and tactile sensation; 2) attitudes and preferences (aesthetic evaluation) of various wood products; and 3) psychophysiological responses toward wood. The review posits that there seem to be similarities in preferences for wood and that people prefer wood because it is natural. In addition, affective responses toward wood seem to be measurable, giving indications of psychological beneficial effects. However, caution should be made in concluding from the review that interior wood use is psychologically beneficial. Thus, theoretical, methodological, and practical implications are discussed and research needs identified.
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Health and well-being in the workplace have become common topics in the mainstream media, in practitioner-oriented magazines and journals and, increasingly, in scholarly research journals. In this article, we first review the literature that serves to define health and well-being. We then discuss the primary factors associated with health and well-being, the consequences of low levels of health and well-being, and common methods for improving health and well-being in the workplace. Finally, we highlight important future directions for future theory, research, and practice regarding health and well-being from an organizational perspective.
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global sustainability goals have led to the development of the green building movement. The Green Building Program, stemming from the movement, has had unprecedented success as it provides a quantifiable metric to people's efforts towards sustainable development. Sustainable development and green buildings are often used interchangeably. Although, sustainable development and green buildings are related, they are not the same. This paper provides an overview of how green building relates to sustainable development practices. Sustainability also governs decisions concerning building materials. A comprehensive explanation of what constitutes a green building material is discussed and how renewable material like wood fare in the deciding criteria. There are many green building rating systems in place. United States Green Building Council administered Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) is the global market leader in the rating systems. LEED is a commendable and grand effort in moving towards sustainable development by converting the built environment green. However, it does have certain pitfalls and challenges. Some of these challenges are with respect to policies on material selection and performance monitoring. The materials used in a project are considered at a common starting point and no consideration is given to the life cycle performance of the material. Statements concerning sustainability require validation, and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a tool that can provide such validity. This paper presents how beneficial it can be, when included, in the bigger scheme of green building rating systems and introduces an integrated design concept for green buildings.
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This study investigated the psychological (perceived restorativeness, subjective vitality, mood, creativity) and physiological (salivary cortisol concentration) effects of short-term visits to urban nature environments. Seventy-seven participants visited three different types of urban areas; a built-up city centre (as a control environment), an urban park, and urban woodland located in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Our results show that the large urban park and extensively managed urban woodland had almost the same positive influence, but the overall perceived restorativeness was higher in the woodland after the experiment. The findings suggest that even short-term visits to nature areas have positive effects on perceived stress relief compared to built-up environment. The salivary cortisol level decreased in a similar fashion in all three urban environments during the experiment. The relations between psychological measures and physiological measures, as well as the influence of nature exposure on different groups of people, need to be studied further.
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The aim of this study is to determine preferences for the environmental factors of residential buildings by using two different methods: the conjoint analysis and ranking method. We tried to identify consumers' monetary value regarding environmental performance by testing their Marginal Willing to Pay (MWTP). A survey was conducted in Seoul, Korea to clarify the preference and monetary value of four selected attributes representing environmental performance. These attributes are reduction of energy bills, reduction of CO2 emissions, reduction of volatile organic compound emissions, and application of information technology facilities. The result can be summarized as follows. The MWTP for 1% reduction of CO2 emission is estimated about $377 USD, being 2 times higher than that for reduction of VOC emissions and almost same as that for the reduction of energy bills. The energy bill is most preferred and IT facilities are least preferred in ranking method. Preferences vary according to respondents' socio-demographic factors and the numerical information in conjoint analysis makes strongly reflect them.
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The North American nonresidential construction sector represents a substantial market for structural building materials, yet it is relatively untapped by wood. This study explored wood use and perceptions held by architects and engineers with respect to the structural use of wood in nonresidential buildings, using an extensive mail survey and a series of specifier focus groups in select geographic regions. Several clear barriers for wood emerged across code, technology transfer, and research and development cat- egories. Key problem areas identified were fire-related building code limitations, wood's cost-competitiveness with steel, wood's design difficulty, and poor training for designers and wood tradespeople. Recommendations for addressing these impedi- ments in both the short and long term are offered.
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Under typical viewing conditions, we can easily group materials into distinct classes (e.g., woods, plastics, textiles). Additionally, we can also make many other judgments about material properties (e.g., hardness, rigidity, colorfulness). Although these two types of judgment (classification and inferring material properties) have different requirements, they likely facilitate one another. We conducted two experiments to investigate the interactions between material classification and judgments of material qualities in both the visual and semantic domains. In Experiment 1, nine students viewed 130 images of materials from 10 different classes. For each image, they rated nine subjective properties (glossiness, transparency, colorfulness, roughness, hardness, coldness, fragility, naturalness, prettiness). In Experiment 2, 65 subjects were given the verbal names of six material classes, which they rated in terms of 42 adjectives describing material qualities. In both experiments, there was notable agreement between subjects, and a relatively small number of factors (weighted combinations of different qualities) were substantially independent of one another. Despite the difficulty of classifying materials from images (Liu, Sharan, Adelson, & Rosenholtz, 2010), the different classes were well clustered in the feature space defined by the subjective ratings. K-means clustering could correctly identify class membership for over 90% of the samples, based on the average ratings across subjects. We also found a high degree of consistency between the two tasks, suggesting subjects access similar information about materials whether judging their qualities visually or from memory. Together, these findings show that perceptual qualities are well defined, distinct, and systematically related to material class membership.
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Abstract The ‘restorative environment’ concept sees considerable use in the ,environment-behaviour-design field these days. Much of the ,concept’s appeal has to do ,with how ,it helps us to ,relate health to experiences in natural environments. With this paper I offer some,support for efforts to develop,and apply knowledge,about restorative environments,as health,resources. I will also share some,thoughts onwhere,we stand,with research on restorative environments,and where research in the area can go next. More specifically, I will discuss how we define restoration; a general framework for theories about restorative environments; some,requirements of empirical tests of those theories; and the public health vs. therapeutic values of restorative environments. Keywords:Natural environments; restoration; restorative environments; stress
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This research studied possible benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in a controlled laboratory experiment. Participants were 34 students randomly assigned to one of two conditions: an office setting with four indoor plants, both flowering and foliage, or the same setting without plants. Attention capacity was assessed three times, i.e. immediately after entering the laboratory, after performing a demanding cognitive task, and after a five-minute break. Attention capacity was measured using a reading span test, a dual processing task known to tap the central executive function of attention. Participants in the plant condition improved their performance from time one to two, whereas this was not the case in the no-plant condition. Neither group improved performance from time two to three. The results are discussed in the context of Attention Restoration Theory and alternative explanations.Research highlights► Indoor plants in an office can prevent fatigue during attention demanding work. ► Attention restoration does not depend on a defined “five-minute” break. ► Benefits of plants can occur in offices with window view to nature
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The effect of visual stimulation from wood on the body was examined in a comparative study using full-sized hinoki wall panels and a white steel wall panel. Continuous blood pressure measurements were used as the physiological indicator. Sensory evaluation by the semantic differential (SD) method and the profile of mood states (POMS) test were performed to determine changes in psychological impression. Results showed that visual stimulation from hinoki wall panels had an emotional and natural impression upon humans. Blood pressure decreased significantly in subjects who liked them, and there was no significant increase in blood pressure in subjects who disliked them. Visual stimulation from the white steel wall panel made an unhealthy and closed impression and increased the sense of depression. In addition, there was stress and a significant increase in blood pressure in subjects who disliked them. Consequently, visual stimulation from hinoki and white steel wall panels had different physiological and psychological effects. Results also showed that the same visual stimulation induced different physiological responses depending on the values of the individuals.
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To clarify the visual effects of room interior with wooden materials on humans, pulse rate, blood pressure, and brain activity were measured while the subjects were exposed to visual stimuli using actual-size model rooms. The wood ratios (the ratio of the area covered with wooden material to the whole area of the ceiling, walls, and floor) of the rooms were 0%, 45%, and 90%. Subjective evaluation was also conducted. In the 0% room, diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly, but the observed change in the autonomic nervous activity was relatively small. In the 45% room, a significant decrease in the diastolic blood pressure and a significant increase in pulse rate were observed. This room tended to have the highest scores in subjective “comfortable” feeling. The 90% room caused significant and large decreases in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure at the beginning of the test, but the large coverage of wood appeared to cause a rapid decrease in brain activity and an increase in pulse rate. The present study demonstrated that a difference in wood ratio in the interior caused different physiological responses, especially in the autonomic nervous activity, by using actual-size rooms for the first time.
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