WELL Building Standard Workshop: A Review

WELL Building Standard Workshop: A Review

By: Yasha Ogg

This past Friday, February 10th 2017, I attended a WELL Building Standard workshop at the Lighting Agency in Denver, Colorado. With health and wellness being key words that are creeping into the building industry, it was interesting to learn about how this new rating system works. Pioneered by Delos, the WELL Building Standard is the culmination of seven years of research in collaboration with physicians, scientists, and medical research and literature to provide a comprehensive set of wellness guidelines.

Hosted by USGBC Colorado, the workshop was led by Jessica Cooper (Delos) & Angela Loder (Greening the City). Here are the 3 main takeaways I got from the workshop.

  1. The biggest reinforcement that we received throughout the workshop was that the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) encourages designers to be innovative and find alternative paths to adhering to the Wellness Standards provided. The reason for this encouragement is that not all buildings are the same, and not all companies can apply the same WELL Features to their business model. In order to still be able to achieve these features, designers are encouraged to explore their options and do a little more “homework” to find a solution. Ultimately, IWBI will analyze the innovative proposal and decide if a feature has been accomplished.
  2. Unlike LEED where the fee goes towards the certification and a separate fee goes to the assessor of the project, WELL’s project fee includes the commissioning as well as the on-site assessment by an accredited WELL Assessor. Once a building completes certification, it requires recertification every 3 years. During the first 3 year recertification, the project is grandfathered into the WELL Building Standard version to which it was built. Every other recertification thereafter, the project will be recertified against the most current WELL Building Standard at that time. This ensures that the building or project is accurate and current with the latest wellness standards. The cost for recertification is also roughly 1/3 of the original certification cost. Because WELL requires annual summaries of the building or project quality reports, the three year certification consists mostly of an on-site inspection.
  3. For those of us who are studying to take the WELL AP exam, it is recommended that you read the background of each feature and which body system it affects. The computer-based exam is based on 9 topics and consists of questions that are both scored and unscored. Here is a rough guideline of the exam.
  • Air: 13 Questions
  • Water: 8 Questions
  • Nourishment: 8 Questions
  • Light: 11 Questions
  • Fitness: 8 Questions
  • Comfort: 10 Questions
  • Mind: 9 Questions
  • WELL Certification: 10 Questions
  • Synergies: 8 Questions

All in all, this workshop was very helpful in learning about the features that make up the new WELL Building Standard. Happy Studying!

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