Health & Happiness Petal

Health & Happiness Petal

The intent of the Health + Happiness Petal is to focus on the most important environmental conditions that must be present to create robust, healthy spaces, rather than to address all of the potential ways that an interior environment could be compromised. Many developments provide substandard conditions for health and productivity, and human potential is greatly diminished in these places. By focusing attention on the major pathways of health, we create environments designed to optimize our well-being.


The Living Building Challenge envisions a nourishing, highly productive and healthy built environment. However, even the best available solutions require acceptance and engagement by the project occupants and the project owner. It is difficult to ensure that developments will remain healthy over time, since environmental conditions such as air quality, thermal control, and visual comfort can easily be compromised in numerous ways. It can also be complicated to ensure optimal conditions due to the unpredictable nature of how people operate and maintain their indoor spaces.

Every regularly occupied space must have operable windows that provide access to fresh air and daylight.

To promote good indoor air quality, a project must create a Healthy Interior Environment Plan that explains how the project will achieve an exemplary indoor environment, including the following:

• Compliance with the current version of ASHRAE 62, or international equivalent.

• Smoking must be prohibited within the project boundary.

• Results from an Indoor Air Quality test before, and nine months after, occupancy.

• Compliance with the CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010 (or international equivalent) for all interior building products that have the potential to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

• Dedicated exhaust systems for kitchens, bathrooms, and janitorial areas.

• An entry approach that reduces particulates tracked in through shoes.

• An outline of a cleaning protocol that uses cleaning products that comply with the EPA Design for the Environment label (or international equivalent).

The project must be designed to include elements that nurture the innate human/nature connection. Each project team must engage in a minimum of one all-day exploration of the biophilic design potential for the project. The exploration must result in a biophilic framework and plan for the project that outlines the following:

• How the project will be transformed by deliberately incorporating nature through Environmental Features, Light and Space, and Natural Shapes and Forms.

• How the project will be transformed by deliberately incorporating nature’s patterns through Natural Patterns and Processes and Evolved Human-Nature Relationships.

• How the project will be uniquely connected to the place, climate, and culture through Place-Based Relationships.

• The provision of sufficient and frequent human-nature interactions in both the interior and the exterior of the project to connect the majority of occupants with nature directly.

The plan must contain methods for tracking biophilia at each design phase. The plan should include historical, cultural, ecological, and climatic studies that thoroughly examine the site and context for the project.