Purpose: Physical inactivity has a considerable negative impact on health. Physical activity has reduced partly due to workplace and lifestyle changes, causing people to spend more time in buildings and increasing sedentary behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to address a largely untapped opportunity for designers and managers to improve building users’ health by designing buildings that raise users’ Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) levels. In this research a conceptual model was developed to assess buildings’ performance in providing NEAT-promoting opportunities through building design features and management, in relation to building users’ propensity for NEAT behaviours. Design/methodology/approach: The conceptual model was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and data to populate the model was obtained through a survey of 75 buildings in Jakarta (Indonesia). Findings: The presented proof-of-concept shows that the model’s “meso-scale” approach to study physical activity and building design can lead to potential improvements of NEAT levels and physical activity in buildings. Originality/value: The review of precedent models shows that this subject has been researched at micro-scale (i.e. detailed monitoring of individuals’ movement) and macro-scale (i.e. epidemiological studies of populations’ health). The presented model is original, as it explores a “meso-scale”(i.e. building scale) that is unique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-756
Number of pages20
Issue number11/12
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2022


  • Active design
  • Building design
  • Design tools
  • User behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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