Recently, Google pledged to make their workspaces “ADA-plus” compliant. Their goal was to exceed the building accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With the Baby Boom generation getting older and one in five Americans living with a disability, practicing universal design, or building for all abilities, makes sense and promotes equal rights.
As you might imagine, this goes beyond automatic doors and adequately sized restroom stalls. In 2005, the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA) established the following eight goals to help architects better understand the concepts of universal design:
- Body fit: Accommodate a range of body sizes and abilities.
- Comfort: Prevent environmental demands from being physically challenging.
- Awareness: Ensure that critical instructions are made easily available.
- Understanding: Make methods of operation and use clear and unambiguous.
- Wellness: Contribute to health promotion, avoidance of disease and prevention of injury.
- Social integration: Treat all groups with dignity and respect.
- Personalization: Incorporate opportunities for choice and emphasize autonomy.
- Cultural appropriateness: Respect cultural values and the social and environmental context of any design project.
In terms of HVAC, indoor air quality (IAQ) and temperature can be a huge factor in the health and comfort of building occupants. If not properly controlled, temperature and air pollutants can aggravate certain conditions such as temperature-related stress. Zoned Comfort Solutions ™ from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating allow indoor temperature to be controlled room-to-room and can aid greatly in creating a universally designed space. kumo station™ also promotes accessibility by allowing users to independently control their HVAC and filtering systems from a smart device.