When endeavouring to define a general state of existence, the words health and well-being have by their association become intrinsically synonymous in helping to define intelligent buildings. The term health and well-being is now used as a barometer for assessing a general feeling of satisfaction, happiness and existence, however, it has become a ubiquitous term without predefined boundaries. In the past, the opposite of health and well-being has been the awareness of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) which is seen as a negative reactionary view of buildings and where IEQ factors have had an impact upon occupant performance. We have grown a natural mentality in understanding what is bad for us, but we are yet to realise what is actually good for us and to encapsulate these factors into a framework or standard. In trying to understand what is good for us, it is perhaps important that we understand and consider the term health & well-being, and to form a definition specific to workplace environments rather than a ubiquitous term. Buildings and workplaces even of different types are known to directly influence occupant health, however, when we attempt to investigate the term ‘well-being’ we realise although a simple statement the term is quite complex. One of the main difficulties in defining wellbeing, is that it is universally referenced across many applications and indeed environments, being applied subjectively and objectively in many instances. Therefore, to assess a specific view of well-being, it is important to define it within its own individual context and to empirically understand the various tangible factors which may impact what is generally accepted as a subjective feeling.
Seen by many, as a subjective perceived state of existence, health and well-being form two of a number of ordinal factors which interact with cardinal factors to drive building and occupant performance (Figure 4). Assembling a specific definition based upon a physiological approach to assessing the impacts of IEQ factors, a unique definition for health & well-being could extend to designing & operating “intelligent workspaces which not only keep the building occupant free from physical disease or pain, but support the individual effectively without stress, offering a quality environment responsive to individual needs and desires”.