Conference Paper

Interior wood use in classrooms reduces pupils’ stress levels

Authors:
Conference Paper

Interior wood use in classrooms reduces pupils’ stress levels

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

This study wants to answer the question if interior wood use in classrooms has beneficial effects on the pupils. Up to date, most studies examining the effects of School environments on pupils concentrate on light, ergonomics, air quality, noise, colours, etc. (Higgins et al., 2005). We did not find one study looking at effects of different furnishing materials (like wood) in classrooms. A recent review article from Nyrud, and Bringslimark (2010) reports the numerous positive effects of wood use in varying interior settings on humans’ psychological and physiological health.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... In a similar study, stress levels of Austrian high school students working in wooden and non-wooden classrooms were measured over the course of a school year [83]. The control condition was a typical classroom containing plasterboard walls, a linoleum floor, and chipwood cupboards. ...
... Over the course of the school year, researchers found that student heart rates and stress levels decreased in the wooden classroom. Moreover, the wooden classroom was observed to be positively associated with increased concentration and healing, as well as reduced strain, providing further evidence that wooden indoor environments lead to positive health benefits [83]. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... Wood is also associated with health-promoting characteristics such being stress-reducing: Kelz, Grote and Moser [26] showed that wooden floors, ceilings, cupboards, and wall panels have a positive effect on the individual's stress level, indicated by a lower heart rate and higher heart rate variability. ...
... The participants believed that the wooden floor was more likely to reduce stress, raise well-being and increase the quality of life than the laminate floor. Recent findings show that wooden materials in indoor settings have beneficial effects on humans [1,26,27]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Wood is generally associated with being practical, aesthetic and economy-friendly. Using wood in interior settings also can be based on psychological expectations and assumptions, as wood is attributed as warmer, more homely, more relaxing and more inviting. However, when investigating psychological differences, wood is usually compared to carpets, glass, leather, stone, or plastic but is not compared to a visually similar material such as laminate. The aim of this study is to analyze and compare the various psychological characteristics related to wooden and laminate materials in interior settings. The experimental design was a 2 × 2 design (material, sequence) with repeated measures for material. Forty participants were asked to evaluate a framed piece of wood floor and a framed piece of laminate floor regarding technical, practical, and psychological aspects. Further, three questions about one's purchase decision were asked. The results show that the wooden floor was evaluated significantly better than the laminate floor regarding " materials and processing " , " atmosphere " , and " values and symbolic functions ". For the criterion " health " , a tendency in favor of wood could be found. In addition, the participants would more likely recommend and purchase wooden products and also accept more deficiencies in wooden products.
... The benefits of wood in interiors are multiple physiological, psychological and environmental. Namely, wood in the interior improves a person's emotional state, lowers blood pressure (Sakuragawa et al., 2005), heart rate and stress level (Kelz et al., 2011), improves air quality, and in the long-term stores carbon and hereby helping to combat climate change. Figure 1 shows some of the benefits of wood usage in the interior (Web 2). ...
... The usage of wood proved positive attitudes in classrooms. The study (Kelz et al., 2011) proved that students who resided in a newly redecorated solid wood classroom had a much lower heart rate, unlike those in a classroom equipped standard materials. Ball et al. (2002) in New Zealand have proved the appearance of the working environment in offices can also affect people's work. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We are witnessing huge environmental pollution around the world. Excessive use of artificial materials has a very detrimental effect on our health. In order to prevent pollution, to stimulate the development of the wood-and furniture industry, agriculture and related activities, it is necessary to encourage people to use natural materials as much as possible. Sheep's wool is a unique and significant product that characterizes the animal species and is an example of neglected material. On the other hand, we have good utilization of wood, but there should be a greater degree of finalization of the product in Republic of Croatia. New ideas would stimulate new investments for the development of the mattress industry and enable the economy to develop. However, the aim of the paper is to remind users of the beneficial properties of natural materials and to encourage them to choose natural materials when purchasing furniture for sleeping. By choosing natural materials, in addition to not destroying the environment, we can ensure better and quality sleep, as well as prevent some health disorders, such as allergies. In addition, the production of products made from natural materials would be encouraged.
... The psychophysiological effects of natural elements such as wood have been demonstrated by recent studies. Over the course of a school year, Kelz et al. (2011) found that secondary school pupils' heart rates significantly decreased in a classroom with solid wood furnishings but significantly increased in a control classroom with standard materials demonstrating that the use of solid wood in classrooms can reduce pupils' stress levels. Sakuragawa et al. (2005) compared the psychological and physiological effects of viewing The selected rooms show similarities in terms of typology and uses. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many environmental advantages of wood in buildings have been thoroughly documented; however, this material’s effects on occupants are not well known or fully comprehended. This research aims to study comfort parameters in a multifunctional room characterised by extensive wood surfaces in comparison with a similar room with more conventional surfaces at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. The objectives of this research focus on determining the thermal, visual, and acoustical similarities and differences between two rooms using on-site surveys. Analysis of instrumental measurements and images of each room’s indoor environment under overcast skies determined the colour and texture of the surfaces. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that both rooms share similar thermal and acoustic comfort parameters, but have contrasting visual characteristics. The colour, knots, and grain of the wood contributed to producing visually warm experiences resulting in a yellowish room, whereas a mix and match of artificial finishes generates a colder, bluish ambiance in the other room. The conclusion suggests that architects and designers should consider the indoor use of wood for its unique visual ambiances that enhance comfort levels.
... These effects of wood have been studied in recent research. Wood was associated with decreased blood pressure in an Austrian study; high school students who were taught in classrooms with floors, ceilings, and walls finished in real wood had lower heart rates than students taught in classrooms with no wood elements (Kelz et al. 2011). Besides having lower heart rates, students in the wood classrooms also reported lower levels of stress than those in non-wood classrooms. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the potential of wood for improving environmental quality in interior spaces. In northern climate cities where overcast skies predominate, interior spaces may appear gloomy or dull, since natural light is white and uniform. Nevertheless it is observed that wooden surfaces tend to create warmer and brighter spaces under overcast sky conditions. The objectives of this research were twofold. The first was evaluating the quality of wooden spaces under two sky conditions in terms of color, brightness and contrast. The second objective was to investigate daylight quantity of wooden spaces under diffuse and clear sky conditions. The method involved on site-surveys using Photolux, a calibrated photoluminance meter. Data consist of calibrated digital images that were processed to analyze the quality of spaces based on brightness, contrast, and color. The Kruger Building, with its internal wooden architectural structure and decorative indoor panels, was chosen as a site study for this research. Conclusions suggest that knowing the effect of different sky conditions on wooden spaces can help architects and other professionals in designing more comfortable and efficient ambiances. More particularly, this research addresses issues related to the quantitative effects of wood on daylighting distribution, visual comfort and luminance diversity
... The psychophysiological effects of natural elements such as wood have been demonstrated by recent studies. Over the course of a school year, Kelz et al. (2011) found that secondary school pupils' heart rates significantly decreased in a classroom with solid wood furnishings but significantly increased in a control classroom with standard materials demonstrating that the use of solid wood in classrooms can reduce pupils' stress levels. Sakuragawa et al. (2005) compared the psychological and physiological effects of viewing The selected rooms show similarities in terms of typology and uses. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many environmental advantages of wood in buildings have been thoroughly documented; however, this material’s effects on occupants are not well known or fully comprehended. This research aims to study comfort parameters in a multifunctional room characterised by extensive wood surfaces in comparison with a similar room with more conventional surfaces at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. The objectives of this research focus on determining the thermal, visual, and acoustical similarities and differences between two rooms using on-site surveys. Analysis of instrumental measurements and images of each room’s indoor environment under overcast skies determined the colour and texture of the surfaces. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that both rooms share similar thermal and acoustic comfort parameters, but have contrasting visual characteristics. The colour, knots, and grain of the wood contributed to producing visually warm experiences resulting in a yellowish room, whereas a mix and match of artificial finishes generates a colder, bluish ambiance in the other room. The conclusion suggests that architects and designers should consider the indoor use of wood for its unique visual ambiances that enhance comfort levels.
... This data supported the study of Tsunetsugu, Miyazaki, and Sato (2007) that 45% timber coverage of the room were the most preferred by participants. In addition, timber finishes acts to reduce stress levels, enhance human well-being, and recovery the function of the body (Kelz, Grote, & Moser, 2011;Nyrud & Bringslimark, 2010) Co-workers can enjoy the existing natural materials and understand the culture and structure of the heritage building while working in the workstation. This creates a sense of calm, sense of place and enhance co-workers' well-being in the co-working space. ...
Research
Full-text available
Modern lifestyles do influence Malaysian occupants to work long hours in a day in order to cope with large workloads and to meet a deadline. Majority of the occupants are overstressed, faced with negative emotions that lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Studies show that nature is able to enhance human well-being by reconnecting human with natural elements in a built environment, which is known as biophilic design. Therefore, this study aims to create a biophilic design guideline to enhance occupants' well-being in heritage adaptive reuse indoor co-working space. This study is conducted in the Heritage World Site (WHS) in George Town, Penang. Mixed method research design was used to collect data from the site. Both qualitative and quantitative data were analysed using the triangulation method to validate the overall data and research by cross verifying the information from multiple methods to gather the data. The results proved that the existing biophilic design patterns do enhance co-workers' emotional well-being significantly and it can be used as design guideline. In addition, this study also investigated different ways of biophilic design patterns application which can affect the quality of biophilic experiences.
... Building occupants reported lower sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation because of the presence of visual timber surfaces (Fell 2013). Kelz et al. (2011) found differences in recorded students' heart rates when they attended class in a control condition, a typical classroom with plasterboard walls, linoleum floor, chip wood cupboards, and a classroom made of solid wood. Architects and designers working in the healthcare sector are exploring the physiological benefits of incorporating nature into indoor environments through greater use of gardens, views of trees, and the use of timber-finished surfaces (Frumkin 2001). ...
Article
Full-text available
Timber has been considered a promising building material because of its structural rigidity, environmental sustainability, and renewability nature. In Europe and Australia, timber materials have been used for many different types of construction such as residential, commercial, education, and industrial. However, in the U.S., familiarity with timber products is gaining momentum. The construction practitioners are still reluctant to consider mass timber as a mainstream building material. A limited number of case study projects make it difficult for industry personnel to evaluate the actual construction feasibility of mass timber. As a result, a significant knowledge gap has been created that hindering the progress of mass timber material in the U.S. construction industry. To help solve the problem, this study aims to identify the existing awareness level among the U.S. building constructors regarding mass timber building materials. It further determines some of the major construction-related difficulties of mass timber buildings and recommendations to overcome those difficulties to increase the acceptance of this material. The study performed a semi-structured questionnaire survey to carry out statistical analysis regarding mass timber building material. Analysis of descriptive statistics suggested that the level of awareness and involvement by the U.S. construction practitioners in mass timber building is still significantly low as 55% of the participants indicated no experience on mass timber building construction projects. Qualitative data analysis suggested that lack of experience in timber construction, poor coordination among the project parties, design-related difficulties, and high cost of mass timber panels are the biggest construction-related barriers to adopt this product. To overcome the existing difficulties, the study proposed an increasing number of timber building projects and manufacturing plants, effective early collaboration among the project parties, developing skilled workers, and a nation-wide promotion by the owners and the architects. The outcomes of this study will be helpful for the industry practitioners and the owners to adopt mass timber as a mainstream building material. The study will further increase the acceptance of this material in the U.S. construction industry.
... Building occupants reported lower sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation because of the presence of visual timber surfaces (Fell 2013). Kelz et al. (2011) found differences in students' recorded heart rate when they attended class in a control condition, a typical classroom with plasterboard walls, linoleum floor, chip wood cupboards, and an experimental condition of a classroom made of solid wood. Architects and designers working in the healthcare sector are exploring the physiological benefits of incorporating nature into indoor environments through greater use of gardens, views of trees, and the use of timber-finished surfaces (Frumkin 2001). ...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
This research analyzes the feasibility of mass timber building materials in the U.S. construction industry. Three specific aspects of mass timber (industry perception, cost competitiveness, and air pollution potential) are evaluated based on that a multi-criteria decision-making framework will be developed that will assess the actual feasibility of this material.
... This data supported the study of Tsunetsugu, Miyazaki, and Sato (2007) that 45% timber coverage of the room were the most preferred by participants. In addition, timber finishes acts to reduce stress levels, enhance human well-being, and recovery the function of the body (Kelz, Grote, & Moser, 2011;Nyrud & Bringslimark, 2010) Co-workers can enjoy the existing natural materials and understand the culture and structure of the heritage building while working in the workstation. This creates a sense of calm, sense of place and enhance co-workers' well-being in the co-working space. ...
Article
Modern lifestyles do influence Malaysian occupants to work long hours in a day in order to cope with large workloads and to meet a deadline. Majority of the occupants are overstressed, faced with negative emotions that lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Studies show that nature is able to enhance human well-being by reconnecting human with natural elements in a built environment, which is known as biophilic design. Therefore, this study aims to create a biophilic design guideline to enhance occupants' well-being in heritage adaptive reuse indoor co-working space. This study is conducted in the Heritage World Site (WHS) in George Town, Penang. Mixed method research design was used to collect data from the site. Both qualitative and quantitative data were analysed using the triangulation method to validate the overall data and research by cross verifying the information from multiple methods to gather the data. The results proved that the existing biophilic design patterns do enhance co-workers' emotional well-being significantly and it can be used as design guideline. In addition, this study also investigated different ways of biophilic design patterns application which can affect the quality of biophilic experiences.
... Natural materials, such as wood, are associated with better user's outcomes with respect to recovery times, lower pain perception, and positive dispositions. Kelz et al. (2011) studied this use of wood in classrooms and found that over the course of a school year pupils' heart rates significantly decreased in the solid wood classroom. They noticed that perceived stress from interactions with teachers (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
School furniture design which follows the latest pedagogical guidelines is a neglected topic in the education system of many countries in the world. This paper highlights preliminary results of the project "Enhancing children's well-being by sustainable school furniture design", which has a goal to enhance the school environment and furniture design, environmental creativity, sustainability and well-being of elementary school students by new furniture concepts. The first phase of the project was to analysing school environment and furniture typology in New York Central District Elementary Schools (USA) vs Zagreb City Elementary Schools (Croatia) and observing user's behaviour using current equipment in NYS public school classrooms. Among all schools which have mostly traditional furniture but creative layouts, new efforts are found in Groton Elementary School, Groton NY. This school will be used as a starting point for the new observations and creative design concepts in the next phase of the project.
... In educational settings in particular, the classroom design can have a high impact on the learning process of students [67]. Classrooms with exposed timber have been shown to result in reduced heart rate and perceived levels of stress in students compared to classrooms where other materials are used [68]. Procuring engineered timber school building can therefore have a long-lasting positive impact on the education and performance of students. ...
Article
Full-text available
Due to changing demographics, the UK faces a significant shortage of school places. The UK government aims to build large numbers of new schools to meet this demand. However, legally binding carbon emissions mitigation commitments might limit the ability of the government to adequately meet this demand on-time, on-budget, and within sustainability targets. This paper assesses the opportunity for prefabricated engineered timber construction methods to help meet the demand for new primary and secondary school buildings in the UK within these constraints. Building on a study of past government-led school building programmes and the state-of-the-art developments in engineered timber construction, this paper outlines the benefits that an engineered timber school building programme could have on a sustainability and procurement level. A strategy is then proposed for the wider adoption of engineered timber for the construction of school buildings in the UK, including detailed guidelines for designers and policymakers. The study concludes with recommendations for the adaptation of this strategy in different countries, depending on context-specific requirements, therefore promoting a generalised adoption of sustainable and efficient construction processes.
... [10][11][12][13] Natural materials such as wood furnishing and wooden fabrics could help in reducing separation from nature in modern built environment. This separation is especially problematic because people spend around 80% of their time within buildings, [14][15][16] a reality that is even more critical during winter in cold climates. Emphasizing the feeling of nature inside buildings through the use of natural materials such as wood enhances physical and mental health and therefore promotes well-being. ...
Article
Full-text available
Wood is a material often used by architects to enhance the overall ambience of a space, but few researches have been reported to discuss its actual impact on visual impression and luminous effects. This research studies the influence of wood materiality in relation to creating specific lighting ambiances in architecture. In particular, it focuses on the impact of decorative wood indoor panels on the creation of daylighting diversity in interior space and the potential to improve daylighting quality and energy efficiency. The research uses scaled models for their accuracy in rendering complex daylighting ambiances. The photo-luminance meter enables the comparison between different settings of interior spaces created by a selection of wood type materiality: ratio (percentage), colour (Oak, Cape Cod Grey and Dark Walnut coatings) and gloss concerning illuminance patterns obtained from Ecotect software. The CIE L*a*b* colour space is used to classify luminous ambiances. Results indicate that bright colour Oak favours a deeper daylighting penetration and increases the colour temperature of the space by about 300% when applied on the floor. Cape Cod Grey coating provided a neutral colour balance even under sunlighting. High gloss Dark Walnut located on the ceiling produces the highest luminance values, enlarging the window-lighting pattern. The research underlines the role of wood materiality in achieving luminous diversity and creating visually comfortable interior ambiances.
Article
Designing school settings that provide a satisfying experience of nature and enhance well-being could be advantageous for children and teachers, though in cold climates prolonged periods of precipitation, restricted sunshine and low temperatures represent non-ideal conditions for fostering a connection with nature. This paper reviews research into the relationships between principles of biophilic design and well-being, with specific consideration for learning environments in cold climates. Children spend more time in school than any other place, except the home, and most of their learning activities occur indoors. Given the large portion of the day children and teachers spend within the built environment, an architect's perspective investigates these relationships. The paper examines the concepts and research findings that appear to offer the greatest potential for future architectural applications in children's learning environments. It also identifies gaps in biophilic design strategies in relation to schools and the importance of considering climatic conditions to create satisfying experiences of nature within the built environment. If biophilic design research is to lead to healthier, more comfortable school settings that present a greater connection between learning spaces and the natural environment, then to identify and define beneficial guidelines that translate readily into architecture is essential.
Article
Full-text available
The demand for large and tall timber buildings is increasing across Canada. The recently constructed Brock Commons building in Vancouver and the upcoming Arbour building in Toronto are two such examples. These buildings are challenging for practitioners to design, and presently only a limited number of engineering institutions across Canada offer a course in timber design. There is a growing demand for engineering graduates who can contribute to the creation of these structures; however, the number of graduates who meet this criterion is lagging. Separate courses in timber could be introduced to more universities, however the addition of a new course may overload students, whose course schedules are already tightly regulated by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. Moreover, the creation of a new course can take several years and will therefore not meet the current industry demand quick enough. The research herein presents a method of incorporating timber education within the existing civil engineering curriculum in Canada, without the introduction of an additional course. The purpose of the proposed method is to offer an efficient solution that will provide engineering students with knowledge of the timber industry quickly to meet industry demand. Two timber learning modules were integrated within the existing Structural Steel Design course at an accredited university. The timber learning modules paralleled the topics covered within an undergraduate timber design course. Students were surveyed before and after the learning modules were presented to assess level of interest and motivations, knowledge of the industry, and level of understanding. After the learning modules were presented, 76% of students indicated they had some level of confidence in contributing to the design of a timber building. These results show that the timber learning modules were successful at introducing and generating an interest in timber design, and that students gained basic knowledge they could apply in practice.
Preprint
Full-text available
This research aims to evaluate a realistic timber adoption scenario as a way of reducing carbon emissions of construction in Chile and the UK for the period 2020-2050. The study finds that a gradual increase of timber construction could complement the emission reduction targets set by traditional materials, providing the needed carbon storage. This analysis shows the urgency to define the criteria that will allow to account for carbon storage in timber construction as a natural contribution to the Paris agreement. Finally, it is worth highlighting that the construction sector also faces several economic and social problems that need to be addressed urgently. Timber adoption would reduce emissions and at the same time improve health, security, gender gap, precision, speed and working conditions in construction.
Preprint
Full-text available
This research aims to evaluate a realistic timber adoption scenario as a way of reducing carbon emissions of construction in Chile and the UK for the period 2020-2050. The study finds that a gradual increase of timber construction could complement the emission reduction targets set by traditional materials, providing the needed carbon storage. This analysis shows the urgency to define the criteria that will allow to account for carbon storage in timber construction as a natural contribution to the Paris agreement. Finally, it is worth highlighting that the construction sector also faces several economic and social problems that need to be addressed urgently. Timber adoption would reduce emissions and at the same time improve health, security, gender gap, precision, speed and working conditions in construction.
Article
Full-text available
The present paper is the first to conceptually assess the viability of mass timber construction (MTC) as an alternative construction material/method in Australia. It fulfills an identified need to examine an innovative construction process providing much needed information concerning the technologies current position and future disruption to traditional construction methods. A common tool used in business management studies, the PESTEL model, Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal is employed to provide structure for a strategic analysis of the technology. Mass timber construction clearly demonstrates some advantages including cost savings, primarily in the reduction in on-site labour costs; a lower environmental impact and use of a renewable resource; and possibility of improved amenity and reduced running costs for owners and occupiers. The estimated market potential for MTC in Australia indicates that a local plant might be viable as the market grows, and warrants funding to underpin a full feasibility assessment.
Article
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.
Konzentrations-Leistungs-Test (KLT-R)
  • H Düker
  • G A Lienert
Düker, H. & Lienert, G. A.. (2001). Konzentrations-Leistungs-Test (KLT-R) [Concentration performance test -Revised version].
Erholungs-Belastungs-Fragebogen (EBF)
  • K W Kallus
Kallus, K.W. (1995). Erholungs-Belastungs-Fragebogen (EBF) [Recovery Stress Questionnaire].
The Impact of School Environments: A Literature review. The Centre for Learning and Teaching -School Education
  • S Higgins
  • E Hall
  • K Wall
  • P Woolner
  • C Mccaughy
Higgins, S., Hall, E., Wall, K., Woolner, P. & McCaughy, C. (2005). The Impact of School Environments: A Literature review. The Centre for Learning and Teaching -School Education, Communication and Language Science. University of Newcastle.