Why do certain places make us feel good? Anthropologists tell us we are hard-wired to respond to nature. People viscerally respond to the same relationships in architecture because they make us feel good. These sensations are known as biophilia. Terrapin Bright Green is pleased to release The Economics of Biophilia, a white paper that compiles an economic argument for biophilic design in the built environment.

For the first time, Terrapin Bright Green quantifies for a general audience the dollar savings that result from biophilic design in a variety of applications. Using a growing body of scientific evidence, The Economics of Biophilia estimates the monetary benefit of a large-scale increase in biophilic design across a range of industries. Some highlights from the white paper include:

  • For hospitals: Industry-wide adoption of biophilia in hospital recovery rooms could save the American healthcare system $93 million per year.
  • For schools: For the City of New York alone, further integration of daylighting into public schools could re-engage $297 million in taxpayer dollars and save $247.5 million in lost parental wages resulting from missed school.
  • For retail: Customers in biophilic retail settings regard merchandise as worthy of prices that are up to 25% higher. In fact, another study estimates that a wide-spread increase in biophilic design in retail environments across California could increase profits by $47.5 million.

This paper argues that the incorporation of biophilic design across a variety of building types and industries makes good business sense. Biophilic design is not simply a luxury, but a key element in improving the bottom line.

Terrapin Bright Green is thrilled to have officially released The Economics of Biophilia at a reception for the advisory board and friends of the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools on May 7th, 2012. Biophilic design has major implications for a healthy and effective built environment, and Terrapin hopes that this publication will bolster the USGBC’s efforts to achieve these goals.

The Economics of Biophilia is available for download at Terrapin Bright Green. Please contact Namita Kallianpurkar at namita@terrapinbg.com for more information.