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Biophilia and the Reason Smart-Home Pros Can Own the Wellness Category

Humans are hardwired to relish nature and thrive in a 24-hour circadian cycle. Smart-home pros can fake-believe nature through smart lighting, indoor air quality, beneficial sounds, visuals and other wellness-related stimuli.

Biophilia. This one word changes my entire outlook on smart-home technology and the pros who install it – all for the better.

Literally meaning the love of living things, biophilia refers to our biological attachment to nature. Our closest ancestors lived outdoors for a few hundred-thousand years, so it’s no surprise nature is hard-coded in our DNA. We evolved to thrive in ecosystems of 24-hour day/night cycles with predictable lighting and weather patterns and all the sounds, smells, and sights of nature.

What happens, then, when we rather abruptly (in humankind years) retreat from the forests, streams, sunshine and chirping birds, and hole ourselves up in homes, offices, schools and malls for 90 percent of the time – which is what we do today? Our minds and bodies get confused — and sick — because we weren’t built for that kind of living.

Whether we know it or not, we physically crave the sounds, smells and visuals of the great outdoors. And we long for the all-important natural cues – lighting and air conditions especially – that synch with our deeply ingrained 24-hour circadian clocks.

It makes sense, to be sure, but now a growing body of “well building” research tells us just how dangerous our nature-deprivation can be, contributing to everything from fatigue and hypertension to depression, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The good news is that nature can be faked pretty effectively, providing wellness benefits in “built” environments akin to those produced outdoors – a practice known as biomimicry or biomimetics. The home-technology sector is already doing it. If you’re automating tunable white lights to simulate the intensity and color temperature of natural daylight, then congrats! You are a biomimic.

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