Phil Brown, European regulatory marketing manager at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited argues that the glass and glazing industry should be talking more about how it can improve people’s health and happiness.
As we look forward to a new year ahead, many people’s thoughts turn towards self-improvement, whether it’s eating a better diet, reading more, getting more sleep, or any number of other betterment initiatives.
However, while a new year provides an opportunity to consider the decisions of the past and set goals for the future, clearly the desire to live healthier, happier lives is something people feel all-year-round.
When it comes to living a healthy and happy life, there is growing evidence that our buildings contribute significantly and glazing, in particular, plays a big role.
Casting light on the issue
A string of studies going back many decades has demonstrated the beneficial effect of exposure to natural light on our health, happiness and productivity, and designing more and bigger windows into buildings is the way to deliver this.
For office workers, increasing the level of daylight in a workspace has been shown to improve quality of life measures including duration and quantity of sleep, and to reduce sick leave.
Similarly, in schools, pupils using facilities that have large amounts of natural light have been shown to achieve better marks and to be calmer and more focused.
Increasing the amount of glazing in a building’s envelope is even proven to improve patient outcomes in healthcare environments, speeding up recovery times for long-stay patients and reducing anxiety and other negative factors.
And interior light exposure isn’t the only area where the right choice of glazing can make a significant difference to occupants’ wellbeing – noise is also a key consideration.
There is evidence that noise pollution, reported to be suffered at harmful levels by more than one in every three of the British population, can cause long-term health issues including cardiovascular damage and hypertension resulting from elevated levels of stress hormones.
Clearly this is an area where specifying the right glazing can help. Glass lessens the amount of noise entering a building in two ways, by reflecting it and absorbing it. In particular, the thicknesses of the panes of glass used in an insulating glass unit make a big difference to the level of sound attenuation.
In buildings where noise levels are especially high, specifying an acoustic laminated glass, such as Pilkington Optiphon™ can deliver significant reductions, potentially offering health benefits for occupants for many years to come.
With these benefits in mind, there is a clear opportunity for the glass and glazing industry to capitalise on these findings when selling products to those who design buildings and specify products.
So, here’s a question for glass and glazing sales teams – how often do you talk to your customers about the scope to improve end-users’ quality of life by choosing the right glass and using it in the right way?
If the answer is ‘never’ or ‘not often’, with wellbeing climbing the agenda, maybe there is a strong argument for adding it to your messaging.
After all, as the number of people making new year resolutions shows, people aspire to live a higher quality of life, and there is an onus on the glass and glazing industry to let our customers know how we can contribute towards achieving that goal.