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People´s health and well-being in buildings!
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November 4, 2021

People´s health and well-being in buildings!

There is undeniable evidence for a strong relationship between health and well-being accumulated over a very long time, especially in recent decades. People´s health and well-being are determined by a complex combination of many human and environmental factors, including those related to the built environments.

Aspects of health and dimensions of well-being!

The word health often refers to the individual lives of people – health status. Overall, health includes aspects of physical, mental, emotional, social (financial), environmental and spiritual health, and others.

Well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity – the quality of life. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and the ability to manage stress.

With people spending about 90% of their lives indoors, the buildings have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of their occupants. And the decades of research can demonstrate the importance of good design, construction and operation of buildings.

“Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances and environment. To a large extent, factors such as where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, our income and education level, and our relationships with friends and family all have considerable impacts on health.” (WHO: The determinants of health)

People´s health and well-being in buildings!

Through the design and operation, the buildings need to continuously meet the complex requirements of comfort, satisfaction, and health/well-being of their occupants while also responding to stringent demands and directives of energy performance and environmental requirements.

The following aspects have all been shown to impact people´s health and well-being in buildings: indoor air (temperature, humidity, and many others), comfort (thermal, sound and acoustics), lighting (visual comfort, daylighting and artificial light), ventilation (indoor air quality), design (layout, connection to nature), location and access (including safety and security).

Research proof of built environment!  

Supported by a growing body of scientific research and design practice are providing substantial support to the indisputable role of the built environment on the well-being of building occupants (for example, the intimate connection between the character of the spaces we inhabit and their impacts on human responses and behaviours by the Nobel Prizes winners in 2014 a 2017).

“We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.” (Winston Churchill, The House of Commons)

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