Designing buildings for health and sustainability

Posted: 29 May, 2024

Innovating design for healthy classrooms of the future.

Buildings are usually an overlooked “structure” with a large impact on our everyday lives and with an expected lifespan that can extend across multiple generations. This is why, as we progress towards the European Union’s Industry 5.0 initiative which places a strong focus on social value and well-being, the importance of rethiniking buildings, and in particular of indoor spaces, cannot be ignored. Our current understanding highlights that our living spaces affect not only comfort, but also health and everyday performance. While building design has been traditionally a domain of architects and civil engineers, as we move towards the era of sustainable designs, IoT, and AI, designs for building indoor environments are becoming more interdisciplinary.

Dr Asit Kumar Mishra’s work under the auspices of his MSCA DOROTHY fellowship proposes to explore and provide sustainable and resilient engineering solutions for indoor conditioning of classrooms. His research focuses on the opportunity to apply design thinking for innovating facades, indoor comfort conditioning systems, smart control systems for indoor air quality, and systems that take input from occupants to tailor the indoor environment to their needs. While a significant knowledge base does exist in this domain, future buildings can certainly use innovative and design thinking approaches to come up with suitable solutions. This poses a challenge related to their design, but it also opens the field to innovative designers.

Screen of a particulate matter monitor. Fine particulate matter, 20 times smaller than our hair, are an important indoor air pollutant needing monitoring and mitigatory actions.

In December 2023, Asit had the opportunity to present a keynote presentation on Design for cost and sustainability at the National Institute of Technology Rourkela, India which has been organizing the Innovative Product Design and Intelligent Manufacturing Systems conferences over the past five years. As one of the few national level institutions offering an industrial design course, the Department of Industrial Design has taken a lead in organising these annual gatherings of experts from the field of product design, smart manufacturing, interdisciplinary design, and design thinking. Asit’s talk, entitled Designing buildings for health and sustainability. At the confluence of engineering and public health, tackled the impact of indoor climate on occupants and highlighted how engineering and design measures can be used to provide healthy and sustainable building designs. To quote Asit:

I took the keynote talk as an opportunity to promote cross-disciplinary contributions to the future of building design, encouraging innovators and entrepreneurs of the future. I also appreciated the opportunity of being invited for a talk to an institution of national importance in my home country and interacting with the faculty members and students.

Asit presenting at the National Institute of Technology Rourkela, India

Asit’s presentation was followed by a discussion on four products that developed over the last decade to tackle specific challenges related to indoor environments, as well as on the thought process that had gone into them, and what contributed to their success or failure. His talk concluded with the recommendation that an air sanitation design and innovation is equally necessary as water sanitation, while keeping the twin goals of occupant health and sustainable designs in mind.

This was the first conference where Asit was invited to present his research on rethinking of the built environment as an instrument of public health as a keynote speaker. The full talk can be found on Asit’s YouTube channel.

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set these optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.