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Last edited 11 Jul 2017
Wood, health and wellbeing
Most people spend 90% of their time indoors. Yet buildings being designed today can create issues like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression and lung disease. Choosing the right materials to create healthy homes is becoming ever more important as the UK is set to build 200,000 new homes per year.
- 90% of respondents said they wanted a home that does not compromise their health and wellbeing and a third would pay more for a healthy home.
- 67% of social renters want a home that does not compromise their health and wellbeing.
- 85% of respondents who are willing to pay more for an environmentally-friendly home would also be willing to pay more for a healthy home.
- Only 47% of those willing to pay more for a healthy home would pay more for an environmentally-friendly home.
 Cognitive abilities
A study conducted in 2010 in an Austrian school compared two ‘timber’ classrooms with two ‘standard’ classrooms. The benefits for children studying in the timber classrooms were impressive, especially their heart rates, which were lowered by up to 8600 heartbeats. The children were noticeably more relaxed and there was a positive effect on their performance as well. There was also a decreased perception of stress.
A Japanese study found exposure to wooden panels significantly decreases blood pressure, while exposure to steel panels makes it rise. A second Japanese study carried out in a care home found that providing wooden tables, chairs and tableware, increased the interaction between residents.
Wood lowers sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation. SNS causes stress responses, increases blood pressure, heart rate and inhibits functions like digestion, recovery and repair. When surrounded by nature and wood, these symptoms reduce.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Sustainably procuring tropical hardwood.
- Wood and affordable housing.
- Wood and hybrid structures.
 External references
Sources: York University; Saint-Gobain MultiComfort, Human Research Austria, Stommel Haus, Make it Wood, Wood 100
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