Special Issue "The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Derek Clements-Croome

School of the Built Environment, Whiteknights, University of Reading, PO Box 219, Reading RG6 6AW, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 00447711705456
Interests: design and management of intelligent buildings; sustainable healthy buildings; environmental sensory design; green building; creating productive workplaces
Guest Editor
Ms. Ann Marie Aguilar

Arup Associates, 8 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 4BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Guest Editor
Ms. Mallory Taub

Arup Associates, 8 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 4BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: people centred design; workplace cultures; personal environmental controls; building performance; triple bottom line frameworks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Buildings will examine how the built environment affects our well-being, and this in turn influences our work effectiveness in the workplace. Poor environments contribute to absenteeism and also to people not working as well as they might (which is referred to as presenteeism). Absenteeism and presenteeism produce enormous costs for companies. For example, in the UK, it is reckoned that good design could save approximately £135 bn per year through increases in health and well-being (which lead to increases in productivity and reduced medical costs). It has been shown that the economic costs in the UK of sickness, absence, and presenteeism are over £100 bn per year. The economic losses due to poor design not only lower productivity but also waste energy because designing for sustainability results in environments that are not only better in human terms, but which tend to be leaner in terms of energy consumption.

High quality environmental design is an investment, as occupants are healthier, staff retention rates are higher, productivity is higher, and sustainability ideals, such as lower energy consumption, are more likely to have been met in well-designed buildings. Fresh air at appropriate temperatures, daylight, views outside, color, acceptable sound levels, spatial arrangements, ergonomics, and greenery are all factors that contribute significantly to our mood and well-being in the workplace, but which also impact energy needs. Intelligent buildings need to bring together all these aspects into a holistic whole.

Recommendations will be made for the design of healthy, sustainable buildings.

Prof. Dr. Derek Clements-Croome
Ms. Ann Marie Aguilar
Ms. Mallory Taub
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 650 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • well-being
  • health
  • productivity
  • built environment
  • occupants hygrothermal performance

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The SALIENT Checklist: Gathering up the Ways in Which Built Environments Affect What We Do and How We Feel
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 4 February 2016 / Published: 1 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, behavioural science has emerged as an additional tool to explore the impact of built environments on behaviour and wellbeing. Recognising the potential for further research in this field, we have sought to better understand how built environments affect what we [...] Read more.
In recent years, behavioural science has emerged as an additional tool to explore the impact of built environments on behaviour and wellbeing. Recognising the potential for further research in this field, we have sought to better understand how built environments affect what we do, as well as how they make us feel. We began this process through a review of the behavioural science literature, and have brought together evidence to develop a checklist for design with wellbeing in mind. In this paper, we present Sound, Air, Light, Image, Ergonomics and Tint as the mnemonic SALIENT, which forms a checklist. We outline an example where elements of the checklist have been applied in a real-world setting to examine subjective wellbeing (SWB). We present this example to illustrate how the SALIENT checklist could potentially be applied more extensively to measure the impact of built environments on wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle The Importance of the “Local” in Walkability
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1187-1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041187
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 16 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (157 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transportation infrastructure and transportation behaviors consume significant natural resources and are costly to municipalities, states, and the federal government. Small cities, in particular, may find themselves with high costs. Although transportation has been extensively investigated, methods that may enable small cities to act [...] Read more.
Transportation infrastructure and transportation behaviors consume significant natural resources and are costly to municipalities, states, and the federal government. Small cities, in particular, may find themselves with high costs. Although transportation has been extensively investigated, methods that may enable small cities to act are still lacking. To investigate the influence that neighborhood-level built environment characteristics have on adult personal transportation decisions within small cities, this study combined community-based research, a multi-level analysis of residents, and a case study approach in two (North-Eastern United States) New Hampshire cities, Portsmouth and Manchester. Neighborhood-level physical characteristics were determined using Geographic Information Systems and visual surveys. Resident-level characteristics and behaviors were determined by survey of adult residents. Data were supplemented with input from and collaboration with city representatives. The results showed significant relationships between self-reported destination walking and built environment characteristics in the neighborhoods studied. Furthermore, the results showed variability between neighborhoods, underscoring the importance of local factors and behaviors. The results suggested that small cities and their regional planning organizations can make changes to specific existing neighborhoods to remove barriers to walking and allow more residents to choose walking as a transportation mode, but the changes that are most effective vary by neighborhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle Improving Occupant Wellness in Commercial Office Buildings through Energy Conservation Retrofits
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1171-1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041171
Received: 5 September 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 1 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is increasing literature demonstrating the link between building indoor environmental quality, and occupant health and productivity, driving the corporate real estate industry to investigate how to integrate wellness features in both new and existing building stock. Meanwhile, new voluntary standards to promote [...] Read more.
There is increasing literature demonstrating the link between building indoor environmental quality, and occupant health and productivity, driving the corporate real estate industry to investigate how to integrate wellness features in both new and existing building stock. Meanwhile, new voluntary standards to promote occupant health are becoming adopted alongside sustainability standards. As commercial building owners and tenants seek to improve occupant conditions and incorporate wellness, apparently conflicting priorities must be balanced, particularly improving indoor environmental conditions has the potential to increase energy. This paper presents a framework to consider retrofits holistically and considering the benefit of improved conditions both qualitatively and quantitatively. Where poor conditions exist, published literature demonstrates a lost productivity cost that exceeds typical building energy costs, and this is quantified in the financial analysis presented. Energy retrofits provide a unique opportunity to integrate wellness-enabling features because the energy savings can offset marginal energy or operating cost increases for particular wellness interventions. This paper presents a flexible, customizable framework to develop potential retrofit bundles and evaluate them considering economic, sustainability, wellness, risk and occupant experience factors to identify the optimal zone of retrofit. An illustrative case study using real building data demonstrates how the framework might be applied to a real project and customized to achieve unique stakeholder priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Agile Workspace and Remote Working on Experiences of Privacy, Crowding and Satisfaction
Buildings 2015, 5(3), 880-898; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5030880
Received: 15 June 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 30 July 2015 / Published: 7 August 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Occupant density is an important and basic metric of space use efficiency. It affects user experience of privacy, crowding and satisfaction. The effect of agile working has been two fold. Firstly, offices have an increasing range of workspace settings such as break out [...] Read more.
Occupant density is an important and basic metric of space use efficiency. It affects user experience of privacy, crowding and satisfaction. The effect of agile working has been two fold. Firstly, offices have an increasing range of workspace settings such as break out space, collaborative space and contemplative space in contrast to the traditional workspace settings of assigned desks and formal meeting rooms. Secondly, office workers have become increasingly mobile as they are able to work from a greater variety of locations both in and out of their main place of work. This study asks whether workers who occupy agile workspaces and those with greater mobility experience privacy differently from workers with more conventional offices and work patterns. The experience of privacy can be considered in terms of retreat from people, control of information flow and control of interactions. Our results show that agile workspaces improve the ability to control information compared with open plan offices. It was also found that highly mobile workers are more sensitive to the negative effects of interacting with people. From this a taxonomy of offices is defined in terms of the features that contribute to the experience of privacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
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Open AccessArticle Valuing Indoor Air Quality Benefits in a Healthcare Construction Project with Real Option Analysis
Buildings 2014, 4(4), 785-805; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings4040785
Received: 14 August 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 October 2014 / Published: 24 October 2014
PDF Full-text (663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indoor air quality (IAQ) can produce significant economic benefits for the tenant during the use of the building. However, currently the potential economic benefits on a tenant’s employees’ health and performance are not considered in feasibility studies for IAQ investments. Here, the economic [...] Read more.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) can produce significant economic benefits for the tenant during the use of the building. However, currently the potential economic benefits on a tenant’s employees’ health and performance are not considered in feasibility studies for IAQ investments. Here, the economic value refers to benefits that can be expressed numerically in terms of money such as cost savings and increased revenues and that which impacts the building user organization’s financial profitability. This paper is one of the first known studies to explore real option analysis (ROA) as a potential approach to evaluate the life-cycle profitability of investments in IAQ. The research is carried out as a case study, which is a healthcare construction project in Finland. The main finding of this paper is that ROA seems to provide a viable method for the evaluation of investments in IAQ. In the case study, the economic benefits of IAQ to the tenant are noticeable. The real option value of the economic benefits of better IAQ is almost 4 million euros and the real option pay-off of the IAQ investment exceeds 0.5 million euros. The results are indicative only but imply that ROA is a promising method to evaluate investments in IAQ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Biophilic Design
Buildings 2015, 5(3), 948-963; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5030948
Received: 7 July 2015 / Revised: 13 August 2015 / Accepted: 19 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (197 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biophilic design has received increasing attention as a design philosophy in recent years. This review paper focused on the three Biophilic design categories as proposed by Stephen Kellert and Elizabeth Calabrese in “The Practice of Biophilic Design”. Psychological, peer reviewed literature supporting the [...] Read more.
Biophilic design has received increasing attention as a design philosophy in recent years. This review paper focused on the three Biophilic design categories as proposed by Stephen Kellert and Elizabeth Calabrese in “The Practice of Biophilic Design”. Psychological, peer reviewed literature supporting the benefits of Biophilic design was searched for through the lens of restorative environments. Results indicate that there exists much evidence supporting certain attributes of Biophilic design (such as the presence of natural elements), while empirical evidence for other attributes (such as the use of natural materials or processes) is lacking. The review concludes with a call for more research on restorative environments and Biophilic design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
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