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Building for Well-being

27/10/2020

Studio Victoria

4 minutes

Building for well-being can help improve the quality of life for occupants. In today’s article, we are going to be exploring building for health and well-being by answering the following questions: what is health and well-being? and How can the Construction Industry enhance the health and well-being of others? Keep reading and find out how construction for health and well-being can help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!

WHAT IS HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines well-being as: "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Therefore, well-being considers psychological, physiological, and social factors in health and illness.

According to the Department of Health, well-being has two dimensions: subjective well-being and objective well-being. Subjective well-being (personal well-being) includes evaluations of life satisfaction, positive emotions, and if their life is meaningful where as, objective well-being is centred around ideas and assumptions of basic human needs and rights.

The Department of Health also provide us with a list of why well-being matters to health:

  • well-being increases life expectancy
  • Improves recovery from illness and resistance to developing an illness
  • People with high well-being are more likely to have a healthy diet, engage in physical activity, and less likely to smoke
  • High well-being is also associated with health behaviours among children and young people and lowers likelihood of them engaging in health risk behaviours
  • Influences the well-being and mental health of those close to us
    -It can determine how staff and health care providers’ work
  • well-being is associated with broader positive outcomes e.g. employment, relationships, crime, and so on
  • It can cause implications for decisions for patient care practises and services as well as treatment decisions and costs
  • Can influence the decisions about local services
  • Focusing policies on well-being could lead to improved well-being and reduce the healthcare burden

HOW CAN CONSTRUCTION ENHANCE THE HEALTH AND WELL BEING OF OTHERS?

Health and well-being is therefore determined by a combination of factors and today we will be focussing on the built environment and how the Construction Industry can influence and enhance the health and well-being of others.

The quality of a building can significantly influence the health and well-being of the occupants and the building's Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) verifies the quality of a building's environment by a number of factors such as: air quality, lighting, damp conditions, odours, sound levels, and so on. For this instance, below we discuss how the Construction Industry can build for well-being and an enhance quality of life:

  • Design for social interaction: homes for families which are overcrowded can increase stress and diminish the quality of relationships. To therefore boost social interaction and family relationships, the design of homes should meet the recommended space standards for size of rooms, storage, and outdoor space. Incorporating rooms for dedicated activities, large spaces for group activities and small retreat spaces for quiet time. The adaptable space provides opportunities for social interaction and time out
  • Boost smart technologies: with wearable devices allowing you to monitor health and well-being and applications enabling the monitoring and control of the environment e.g. lighting and heating, means that health and well-being information can be right at our fingertips. Internet of Things (IoT) devices gather real-time data and feed us information on the ventilation, air quality, and temperature, and so on helping occupants to make any necessary adjustments to suit their needs but also interested buyers can access this information for consideration to determine the quality of living and if to purchase
  • Improve internal air quality: poor air quality in homes can increase risk health issues for example high levels of moisture can create mould and dust mites which can cause health issues like asthma and skin conditions. Providing homes with clean quality air therefore can reduce health risks and However, it is possible to provide sufficient clean, cool, outside air without allowing the access of external pollutants. The Passive House concept encourages the use of high quality ventilation technology with a heat recovery system, that continuously removes high pollution and humid air and supplies fresh air to other rooms to provide fresh indoor air to provide a healthier environment
  • Carefully consider window designs and lighting: natural lighting can provide numerous benefits which include enhanced sleep quality, mood, energy, and overall quality of life. The design of windows plays an important role when it comes to lighting, along with the views from the window, solar gain, heat loss, and openings. When it comes to the colour of electric lighting warmer lighting can be used for a more ‘natural’ feel. Carefully considering window designs that allow the home to be lit with daylight can also benefit the environment as it will help to reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions due to the less electricity needed for electric lighting and the retaining of heat
  • Reduce noise levels: the environment plays a role in the quality of sleep. Poor sleep can contribute to psychical and mental health. Acoustic design and noise control improvements can enable occupants to feel in control of their environment and help concentration. Although, on the contrary, it is also important to note that urban soundscape can also be welcomed as it could provide comfort and presence of the city amongst other areas
  • Adaptable for the aging population: The Office for National Statistics have predicted that between 2008 and 2033, 60% of total household growth in England will come from households headed by someone aged 65 or over. Due to this it is important that designs be flexible and adaptable to changing lifestyles and technologies to improve the quality of life for the elderly, and those suffering from a disability or illness. The Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) have created ten key design principles which caters to the needs of the aging population by offering an attractive alternative to the family home as well as being able to adapt over time to meet changing needs
  • Provide greener spaces: the WHO have reported that green spaces improve mental health and therefore incorporating green spaces such as a small garden can add privacy to the home and roof terraces, planting can encourage healthy and happy environments. Green spaces combined with open spaces can also be useful for children as it promotes a healthy lifestyle as they can play and get exercise

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