Introduction to WELL Building Standard

Introduction to WELL Building Standard

By: Donna Metallic

Last week I attended the USGBC of Indiana’s State of the Climate education series.  I was so inspired by the presentation that Dan Overbey of BDMD presented: Introduction of the WELL Building Standard, that I had to investigate just a little deeper to see if this performance based system aligns with my passion to create healthy environments and the vision of IDO Incorporated.

As interior designers we are educated on the importance of the built environment and the impact on human perception and productivity.  How do you tie that factor to wellbeing?   In our curriculum we study color theory, acoustics, ergonomics and basic business practices.  You come out of school wanting to design a space that will impact the human spirit.  When you hit all the human senses you have designed the perfect space…or have you?

The WELL Building Standard™ is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being.

WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment.

The vision of IDO Incorporated is to advance the quality of interior environments for a healthier,  happier and more productive world.  When IDO became the first LEED CI certified building in the city of Indianapolis 10 years ago,  there was still something missing, but what I had no idea.  Today, I feel that I have been introduced to a concept that could tie it all together.

This system closes the “blind spot” of LEED Certification.  The intangibles that we instinctively know impact people in their environments and thus the wellbeing of our workforce.

As people become more educated on the impact of the environment in their daily lives, they are turning to a lifestyle oriented towards a more preventative approach to health and wellness.  We spend about 90% of our lives indoors.  How do we improve elements that have such an impact on our health and wellbeing?

Here are a few facts about the possibility of unlocking the human potential through the built environment that helps to improve the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep, comfort and performance of its occupants.

  • The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of buildings that impact the health and wellbeing of the people who live, work and learn in them. It is a dynamic rating system.
  • WELL v1.0 was launched in 2014.
  • This is the first standard of its kind that focuses solely on the health and wellness of building occupants.
  • WELL is the culmination of seven years of rigorous research in collaboration with leading physicians, scientists and industry professionals. Pioneered by Delos and is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).
  • WELL is designed to work harmoniously with the LEED Green Building Rating System.
  • THE WELL Building standard is organized into Seven Categories-called Concepts: Air, Water, Nourishments, Light, fitness, Comfort and Mind.
    • Comprised of 102 features. Each feature is intended to address specific aspects of occupant health, comfort or knowledge. In each of the eleven features they ascribe to the human body systems that are intended to benefit from its implementation.
    • There are currently three project typologies: New and Existing Buildings, New and Existing Interiors and Core and Shell.
    • There are three levels of Certification: Silver (5-6) and all the compulsory Precondition features have been met in the Concept.  Gold (7-8) and Platinum (9-10) comprise the non-compulsory Optimizations.
      • After a maximum of three years, WELL-Certified projects must undergo Performance Verification and apply for recertification to verify that the building continues to perform in accordance with the WELL Standards.
        • This might be a tough sell in our market place!

Overall this system seems to address all of the issues that I feel are so important in a built environment and I am very excited to learn more about the WELL Building Standard and implement these key features to improve the health and wellbeing of our clients.

Take a look at this new approach and let me know if you would like to take this journey along with me to improve your work environment.

The information above was pulled from The WELL building standard v1 with May 2016 addenda document.

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