As the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) mulls over new standards for building designs and ventilation guidelines in a post-COVID-19 Singapore, here are five steps that building owners and tenants can take to create healthier offices, as recommended by the Singapore Green Building Council.
- Harness natural daylight where possible, with artificial lighting as a supplement.
- Use motion sensors to eliminate the need to touch light switches.
- Opt for energy-efficient lights (no incandescent lights and halogens)
Indoor Air Quality
- Has a direct impact on employees’ respiratory system and health as it affects the air they breathe.
- Select low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission options for office equipment such as printers and keep them away from workstations.
- Ensure architectural finishes such as adhesives, paints and coatings used in the office are certified for low VOC content.
- Supplement air-conditioning with fans, where possible, which helps in ventilation and air circulation.
- Ensure air-con units are connected to the fresh air duct that enables fresh air to be drawn into the office space.
- Reduce indoor air re-circulation and do regular air purging as recommended by BCA, National Environment Agency and Ministry of Health.
- The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or unhealthy your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern. The AQI is calculated for four major air pollutants: ground level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide.
AQI Value Air Quality Is 0 - 50 Good 51 - 100 Moderate 101 - 150 Unhealthy for sensitive groups 151 - 200 Unhealthy 201 - 300 Very unhealthy 301 - 500 Hazardous
Interior Layout and Active Design
- Zone the office based on its various activities.
- Allow flexibility in employees’ work environment as many will most likely spend most of the workday in the office, including mealtimes.
- Helps to promote positive mental health in the workplace, as employees have different areas to destress and decompress.
Biophilia and Views
Noise and Acoustics
- Have purpose-built phone pods for teleconferencing.
- Besides managing noise and office’s overall acoustics, standalone pods can help contain the spread of any viruses and allows for effective cleaning and sanitisation.
Source: Singapore Green Building Council, Straits Times graphics