In today’s increasingly urbanized world, the health and well-being of building occupants is more important than ever. This is where sustainable building practices and biophilic design come in, creating healthier, more comfortable and productive environments. Toyin-Ann Yerifor, a sustainable design consultant, has dedicated her career to this cause, leveraging her vast experience and knowledge to make a tangible impact on people’s lives and their surroundings.
As an accomplished expert in the green building industry, Toyin-Ann holds several degrees and certifications, including a Master of Architecture in Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies, an MBA, and a Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. In addition to her impressive educational background, Toyin-Ann is a Passivhaus-trained specialist who specializes in designing and building spaces that enhance human well-being and performance. Currently, she is a Ph.D. University of Northampton Research Fellow in Sustainability Leadership.
With over two decades of experience as a design consultant, educator and sustainability advocate, Toyin-Ann has successfully delivered complex global construction projects as a Project Director and Project Leader. Fluent in both English and French, she has led numerous design projects in Europe, North America, West Africa and Asia. Her approach to sustainable design is holistic and regenerative, driven by an authentic ambition to explore new and innovative ways to build while minimizing a project’s environmental impact.
Biophilic design is a central aspect of Toyin-Ann’s work. Biophilia, a term coined by biologist EO Wilson, refers to the innate affinity of human beings for nature and living systems. Biophilic design, therefore, is an architectural approach that embraces this affinity by integrating natural elements, materials and processes into buildings and urban spaces. In doing so, it seeks to create environments that not only promote sustainability, but also support human health, well-being and productivity.
Biophilic design has been shown to significantly improve occupant well-being. The presence of natural elements such as plants, water resources and natural light can reduce stress, improve cognitive function and improve mood. For example, studies have found that indoor plants can remove toxins and purify the air, thereby reducing the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Additionally, access to natural light has been linked to improved sleep quality and overall mental health.
A growing body of research also indicates that biophilic design can positively impact productivity in work environments. Access to natural light, views of nature and natural materials can lead to greater focus, creativity and job satisfaction. Additionally, biophilic design can reduce absenteeism by creating healthier, more enjoyable spaces for employees.
Biophilic design principles also inherently support green building practices. By using natural materials and mimicking natural processes, these designs can reduce a building’s ecological footprint. For example, green roofs and walls can reduce energy consumption by providing insulation and natural cooling. Likewise, passive solar design can help regulate indoor temperatures and reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling systems.
In an increasingly decentralized and remote world, biophilic design can foster social connections within communities, creating inviting, engaging and comfortable spaces. These spaces can promote interaction, collaboration, and a sense of belonging among occupants. Additionally, biophilic design can create opportunities for environmental education and awareness, inspiring occupants to become more environmentally conscious in their daily lives.
Investing in biophilic design can lead to long-term economic benefits for both building owners and occupants. Green buildings with biophilic elements have been shown to have higher property values, lower vacancy rates and reduced operating costs. Additionally, healthier and more productive occupants can contribute to the overall economic success of businesses operating in these spaces. In combination with biophilic design, green practices can create environments that not only promote the well-being of occupants, but also contribute to the health of the planet.
By prioritizing biophilic design and resulting occupant well-being, Toyin-Ann’s approach to sustainable design transcends conventional architectural norms. Her expertise in creating high-performance, low-energy buildings not only minimizes the environmental impact, but also ensures the longevity of these structures. As a result, Toyin-Ann’s projects provide lasting value to occupants and the community at large.
However, Toyin-Ann’s experience in sustainable design goes beyond architecture, as she is deeply committed to helping leaders grow professionally and personally. Through her leadership programs, she helps high-performing and overworked executives build habits around energy, well-being, values and empathy. Her methods reflect the belief that effective leadership begins with leading yourself. This approach is linked to her ultimate goal: promoting the well-being of people and their environment.
Drawing on the wisdom of CS Lewis, Toyin-Ann believes that while you can’t change the past, you can shape the future. Her vision for the future is one where sustainability and well-being are not just possible, but prioritized, creating a world where people and planet thrive together. She is dedicated to being an advocate for sustainable design and wellness practices in the US and around the world.
Toyin-Ann’s biggest dream is to develop a sustainable city that improves the well-being of its inhabitants and raises the quality of their lifestyle. By focusing on the integration of biophilic design and sustainable building practices, she aims to create urban environments that not only minimize their ecological footprint, but also promote a strong sense of community and well-being among residents.
As cities around the world grapple with the challenges of rapid urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity, the need for sustainable solutions has never been more pressing. By embracing biophilic design principles and sustainable building practices, visionaries like Toyin-Ann Yerifor are leading the way to a future where human well-being and environmental health are nurtured and protected.
With her experience and passion for creating high-performance, energy-efficient and healthy buildings, Toyin-Ann serves as an inspiration to those in the field of sustainable design and beyond. As a leader and advocate for sustainability, she exemplifies the notion that through perseverance, innovation and commitment to the well-being of people and their environment, it is possible to shape a brighter, greener and more resilient future for all. As Toyin-Ann continues to pursue her dream, her work will no doubt leave a lasting legacy in the realm of green building and beyond.