HDR's sustainable development team's work on environmental performance and supporting human/environmental health has been in the spotlight recently thanks to the development of a new health and wellness tool and an environmental excellence award.

The wellness dashboard tool measures wellness design cost benefits in the built environment by providing hard metrics for clients during the early design stages. The tool analyzes the physical environment and overlays peer-reviewed research to determine the impact on an occupant's stress, safety, effectiveness, quality of work and overall behavior.

The dashboard captures information on the quality of air and water, connections to nature, beneficial acoustics, fitness and nourishment, for example.

"A typical design process results in the removal or value engineering of design elements that benefit health and wellness even though they have a more immediate payback than utility savings from energy and water conservation measures," says Colin Rohlfing, HDR's director of sustainable development. "This changes that," adds Rohlfing, who helped launch the BETA version of this tool in June at London's European Healthcare Design conference.