Wanted: Healthy buildings to protect people from future pandemics  

With buyers much more aware of how their homes affect their well-being, developers are challenged to be people-centric, think out of the box, and be mindful of their actions.

While it may be home-sweet-home for those who live in affluent communities during this pandemic, it’s home-sweat-home for those of us who are quarantined in cramped neighborhoods. So, if there’s any good that has come out of Covid-19, it is that the real estate industry is now, more than ever, seeing “healthy buildings” as an essential part of development and not just a marketing come-on.

But first, we ask, “What’s a healthy building?”

“It’s a building with features that protect and take care of the occupants,” says Christopher Narciso, Arthaland Corporation executive vice president, at a webinar series conducted by Lamudi, a real estate marketplace. “It promotes practices that keep occupants well and facilitates opportunities for them to connect with one another and to live life to the fullest.”

For a healthier, happier home (top to bottom): Christopher Narciso of Arthaland Corporation, Emma Imperial of Imperial Homes Corporation, and Marla Mendoza of Filigree

Arthaland Century Pacific Tower is a proud recipient of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) and EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) certifications, the first to be triple certified in terms of green standards and the building’s reduced use of energy and natural resources. It’s also a recipient of the WELL certification for improving human health and well-being.

From Green To Healthy

While green will always be in, there’s now a shift from green buildings that fight climate change to healthy buildings that support and protect humans; buildings that care not just for the environment but also for the occupants, notes Marla Mendoza, Filigree assistant marketing manager. “Healthy buildings should accommodate people’s physical, emotional and occupational needs.”

Mendoza is proud to share that Filigree’s design philosophy focuses on human experience, on improving people’s lives. “We’re very much into open, generous spaces. We also have single-corridor hallways which allow social distancing. Ventilation systems and natural light allow dwellers to have a better, healthier immune system. Most of our units feature balconies that offer ample space for people to soak in some sunshine.”

Fact is, Mendoza stresses, the more desirable your indoor environment is, the more you would want to stay inside and the less anxious you are.

While your exercise regimen during this pandemic could be just walking from your bedroom to the kitchen or stretching your imagination, Mendoza cites the importance of having a walkable community that encourages residents to go outside and get a little bit of exercise.

Narciso and Mendoza agree that certain features in healthy communities do contribute to preventing the transmission of infections. Says Narciso, “It’s crucial for property managers and residents to be very familiar with the safety measures and healthcare guidelines to insure that everybody will be safe and healthy.”

With health being today’s top priority, property developers are challenged to “innovate, think out of the box, be more mindful of their actions,” Mendoza elaborates.

Costs VS. Rewards

Of course, there will be costs in putting up healthy buildings. But there are meaningful rewards that far outweigh the costs. “Having unhealthy buildings, unhealthy environments, unhealthy work set-ups actually costs more,” Narciso points out.

Cost is really no stumbling block as Emma Imperial, president and CEO of Imperial Homes Corporation, is quick to assert, “The technology we’ve been using allows materials to last a hundred years vs. a typical hollow block that lasts only 30 years.”

What’s more, Imperial says that they’re using an ultra-high-performance concrete (a technology that comes from Denmark) that has a leak-proof surface because it’s non-porous, thus resisting the growth of bacteria and viruses and preventing potential diseases and infections.

All told, the lasting value of a building committed to standards of health and wellness has much more worth than the initial cost.

Imperial likewise urges the use of solar power as renewal energy sources can reduce pollution, thus safeguarding people’s well-being.

With buyers now much more aware of how their homes affect their well-being, developers have to be people-centric and future-ready from the get-go.

And with “work-from-home” as possibly the new normal, people are more likely to move out of bustling business centers and live in healthier, less polluted places where they can breathe fresh air, bask in the sunshine, and maybe dream a little dream.