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Smart Architecture And Well-Being

Several connections exist between smart architecture and well-being, assisting in the development of healthy and sustainable surroundings. As social creatures, humans coexist with others in their immediate environment, which has a substantial impact on well-being. Consequently, we can satisfy our need for a healthy, occupied environment by utilising building systems that include technology. These provide practical ways to better cater to the physical and psychological health and well-being of its occupants (Krödel, 2020).

What is smart architecture?

These structures use technology to provide residents with a safe and comfortable environment. This enables efficient and economical resource utilisation (Buckman et al., 2014). Humans can utilise a broad variety of current technologies in smart buildings, also built and renovated to allow for the incorporation of emerging technology. Just some of the robots and processes that may be used in smart building management include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. These regulate and enhance performance (Moreno et al., 2014). Based on IoT connectivity, sensing systems, network technology, and cloud computing, smart building design makes structures more intelligent and sustainable and adds to the allure of smart cities.

There are many links between architecture and well-being- the future of smart cities is now.
There are many links between architecture and well-being- the future of smart cities is now.
Source: GreenMatch

What is a Sustainable City?

Sustainable cities develop intelligence as buildings get smarter. A city becomes a smart city through investments in its human and social capital. These are present in sustainable transportation and advanced ICT infrastructure, energy sustainability, economic development, and improvements to its residents’ quality of life (Moura & Silva, 2019). Smart, sustainable cities could not exist or develop without their greatest asset: inhabitants. The human component is the most important driving force behind efforts to innovate and enhance the effectiveness of smart and sustainable buildings (To et al., 2018).

Smart architecture is essential to mitigate the effects of the unprecedented rate of urbanisation. Due to urbanisation, the ability of city infrastructure to meet the energy, transportation, healthcare, education, and water needs of citizens has been questioned. By 2050, urban and adjacent areas are anticipated to house about six billion people. Smart, urban technologies, which significantly contribute to each city’s sustainable growth, enable the creation of smart cities (Moreno et al., 2014). In identifying the activities that need to be enhanced, we can link smart building technology together. This is solely for the purpose of automating and optimising them, increasing building efficiency, reducing costs and environmental impact. While technology is utilised to optimise smart architecture, it may also enhance occupant conditions for increased safety, comfort, and productivity.

Architecture is more than the art of constructing individual buildings. It is also the creation of environment. Buildings do not exist in isolation. They not only impose their character on their surroundings but also have an incalculable effect on the lives of human beings who inhabit them.

Conti (1978)

connections between Smart architecture and Well-being

The comfort of “humans” is one of the traditional aspects promoting buildings. It is broadly portrayed and includes the more contemporary concept of well-being. There seems to be a virtuous circle linking health, sustainability, and environmental quality. Improved building performance is likely to result in improved well-being and, consequently, improved performance. Of course, other factors are important, such as job satisfaction, the social ambience of a workspace, and personal issues. Our surroundings can influence our mood, our concentration, and enhance or detract from our basic motivation to work.

Smart Architecture and Human Health

One of the biggest contributors to illness in the modern world is stress. Its symptoms can manifest in the human body in a number of ways. Headaches, depression, inflammation, and reduced immune support can occur when the body retaliates. In the work environment, triggers such as malfunctioning office equipment, inadequate lighting, poorly designed workspaces or inhospitable room temperatures can make employees feel sluggish, tired, irritable, and less productive.

An example of a smart home office.
An example of a smart home office.
Source: UMCO, 2021

How Does Smart Architecture Create Comfortable Spaces?

We have proven smart buildings to generate a more comfortable indoor environment. One of the most important smart building benefits for occupants is having the ability to personalise an individual space. People want to be able to control the airflow around their seating area, for instance. Lighting is another key issue. Task lighting, ambient lighting, and aesthetic lighting — when done right — are all crucial parts of making an indoor space conducive for occupants. A pleasant environment that best fits individual needs benefits humans immeasurably, optimising productivity.

Smart Buildings Create Better Working Conditions

The goal of smart building technology is to improve overall well-being by fostering healthy and sustainable environments for occupants. Employees want more than just an office space. They want to work in a setting that supports their health, happiness, and general well-being. The well-being of employees is important for alleviating absenteeism and presenteeism. In turn, this enhances work performance, personal health, productivity, and creative thinking. Smart buildings built with people in mind are crucial to foster an environment that promotes employee well-being.

Smart Buildings Make Us More Productive

Reports show that smart buildings could boost productivity by as much as 37%. By allowing operatives to control heating, lighting, and air quality, as well as generating the kind of data that helps to optimise workspaces, smart devices have a pivotal role in increasing the overall output of your business. The World Green Building Council points out that, in terms of the running costs of a typical business, only 1% lies in energy. However, around 90% is reflected in staff costs. If we focus on enhancing how the built environment affects human resources, we can make a much bigger impact on the company’s success and the health of the economy as a whole. Smart architecture and well-being seem to go hand-in-hand.

Smart architecture and well-being are interrelated, as intelligent buildings safeguard and promote the mental health of employees.
Smart architecture and well-being are interrelated, as intelligent buildings safeguard and promote the mental health of employees.
Source: Rawpixel

How Smart Buildings Help with Talent Acquisition and Attention

Employee well-being is a key factor in optimising long-term performance and attracting and retaining talent. Employees, especially millennials, are some of the most significantly represented demographics in the current workplace. They have entirely different expectations of what life in employment should look like. When scoping out a new career move, candidates will seriously consider the features and facilities your building has to offer and how they contribute to a healthy workflow. Furthermore, sustainability and environmental concerns matter to workers. Knowing that your building is energy efficient and that you take measures to minimise your carbon footprint can be a deciding factor for candidates.

Happy Employees.
Happy Employees.
Source: Shutterstock

Smart Architecture and Well-Being: providing safety

Furthermore, safety is also a key concern of many building occupants. The protection of a building’s residents and their individual health and safety are some of the most important functions of smart buildings in cities. We can manage numerous safety-related aspects of facility operations using smart building technology. This includes remote monitoring of emergency lights, remote access management, and intelligent fire prevention systems. Air quality sensors, for instance, can identify the sources of air pollution and provide the basis for further action. Smart architecture technologies have become more important for health and well-being than ever before. Indoor air quality functions in HVAC automation and controls ensure an automatic supply of fresh air when carbon dioxide levels exceed acceptable limits. We can also better use technology to manage airflow and ventilation in all areas of buildings.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a complete re-evaluation of our physical spaces, workplaces and smart buildings (Frost & Sullivan, 2021). In order to battle COVID-19 and other possible infectious outbreaks, humanity-driven health practices will continue to be necessary for day-to-day professional and personal routines. Businesses are developing prevention strategies that must include tech-driven remedies, mostly data-powered.

It’s with this sentiment that the University of Technology (Sydney) utilised automated smart building technology within the education sector. Their aim was to synchronise control of the air conditioning with a room booking platform. This helped to save significant business costs as the air conditioning only had to be activated when the room was in use. Investing in innovative technologies that promote healthy buildings unquestionably results in an improvement in the quality of life for all (Krödel, 2020). The link between health, well-being, and sustainability (through employing sustainable design) is also evident in the certification scheme Living Buildings Challenge.

moving forward

In all, having a sense of happiness is one of our main priorities, along with being safe and healthy. Smart architecture can no longer solely focus on cost and energy savings. They must function intelligently for those who utilise and navigate around them. The built environment has a significant impact on the productivity, safety, and overall physical, social, and mental health of its occupants. If we contribute to making people healthier, happier, and more productive, the strain on social and healthcare services would be reduced. In turn, we’d foster a more sustainable society.

Why Are Smart Architecture and Well-being Important?

Smart buildings are an essential component of a holistic sustainable approach to creating sustainable living in cities. They contribute to sustainability by reducing energy consumption, improving indoor air quality, reducing carbon emissions, and contributing to the creation of healthier and more liveable cities.

achieving the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and how they link to architecture and Well-being

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 (ensuring health and well-being for all, at all ages) is critical. Meeting this target by 2030 will be challenging, particularly in the Global South. Science is at the heart of sustainable development and is our ticket to finding new ways to address SDG 3.

A Thrivable Framework

The THRIVE Framework examines issues and evaluates potential solutions in relation to the overarching goal of thrivability. It is about making predictive analyses using modern technology that supports environmental and social sustainability transformations. Employing holistic sustainability principles, including realising related smart architecture concepts (such as smart construction material), are fundamental parts of THRIVE Framework. This part is critical to achieving sustainable societal transformation.

To learn more about how The THRIVE Project is researching, educating, and advocating for a future beyond sustainability, visit our website. You can follow our informative blog and podcast series, as well as find out about our regular live webinars featuring expert guests in various fields. Sign up for our newsletter for regular updates.


  • Chioma Ejelonu

    Chioma is a research scientist with background in materials physics. She is keen about the sustainability of life on our planet and looks forward to making a positive impact on people's lives through research and communicating insights.