Green Walls, Rebar Planters, and Biophilia
Webcor’s renovated San Francisco headquarters features a variety of biophilic installations designed to appeal to people’s innate attraction to nature. Research finds that green spaces contribute to an improved employee experience through improving well-being, boosting productivity and increasing engagement.
Early in the project, Webcor assessed the opportunities for integrating biophilia-related features, leading to the green palette that permeates the space. The team used both living vegetation and design features, such as green colors and natural wood materials and textures, to inspire the interior design of the space.
One of the office’s most striking features is 130 square feet of green wall spanning two unique installations, one in the break room and one in the lobby across from the reception area.
Webcor repurposed the use of rebar to create four multi-level planters situated throughout the office ¬– each row including a different variety of vegetation used to enhance the employee experience.
Additionally, many desks and workstations feature terrariums that employees made during an employee outreach initiative facilitated by Webcor’s sustainability team.
Spurning traditional office lighting, such as harsh fluorescent lights, Webcor wanted its employees to experience as much natural light as possible to accommodate their natural circadian rhythm. Large windows encircle the office, allowing natural light to reach everyone.
Overhead lighting employs BIOS LED chips, compliant with the WELL Building Standard, to support circadian stimulus. These chips incorporate “SkyBlue” technology, mimicking natural daylight. This lighting system maintains a color temperature, offering high color quality, while still helping regulate circadian rhythms.
Materials and Furniture
The furniture and materials found in Webcor’s renovated headquarters were selected to complement the design, enhance the employee experience, and exceed sustainability standards.
All furniture meets the stringent requirements of the ANSI/BIFMA eFurniture Sustainability Standard, which provides measurable market-based definitions of progressively sustainable furniture by establishing performance criteria that address environmental and social aspects throughout the supply chain.
Each office and workstation is outfitted with quality seating and desks that accommodate sitting and standing, including multiple preset heights, making work an ergonomically-enhanced experience.
All materials used in the construction and interior design were selected based on the most optimized sustainability criteria. The drywall used in the office, for example, was fabricated from 90% recycled content. The wood flooring was sustainably sourced, and carpeting, ceilings, tiles, and metal framing contain high levels of recycled content. The office features natural materials such as cork, ceiling tile, and drywall made from bio-based elements.
Additionally, Webcor acquired furniture and materials from companies with take-back programs for end-of-life waste management. The company also sought to purchase furniture and materials from manufacturers that demonstrated a tangible commitment to corporate social responsibility; one provider, for example, Fireclay, is a certified B Corporation.
Another important consideration that was considered was high-air quality. To ensure clean, breathable air for employees, the team vetted materials to safeguard against VOCs and off-gassing. This detailed vetting was applied to furniture, adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, ceilings, walls, insulation, composite wood, and flooring materials.
Webcor also made determined efforts to source as many products as possible that bore transparency labels, including Environmental Product Declarations that detail the environmental impact of the products over their lifecycle, and Health Product Declarations, which note the components of the products. These labels enabled Webcor to source products and materials with low environmental impacts and no known ingredients that might contribute to adverse health effects.
In addition to Webcor’s commitment to materials that support high air quality, the headquarters also features Omni Awair sensors that track various aspects of air quality such as VOCs, particulates, CO2, and humidity. Employees can use a phone app to monitor the levels of these indicators, which is driving an effort to continue to improve air quality based on the readings.
Webcor seeks two certifications for its renovated headquarters office:
- LEED v4 for Interior Design and Construction, which supports high-performance cost-effective project outcomes through an early analysis of the interrelationships among systems.
- WELL Building Standard (Gold), comprising over 100 features applied to each project to apply a holistic approach to health in the built environment addressing behavior, operations, and design.