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What is WELL? A Look at the WELL Building Standard v2

By Alex Kircher, RA, WELL AP

March 30, 2022

 

Today’s world is becoming much more considerate of health and well-being. People in the United States spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, so that seems like a good place to focus. The WELL Building Standard applies health and wellness to buildings, interior spaces, and communities. Let’s take a look at what exactly WELL is, how it began, and see if it’s an option for you.

After six years of research and development, WELL was launched in 2014. It is “the premier Standard for buildings, interior spaces, and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure interventions that support and advance human health and wellness.” There is a vast wealth of scientific and medical research done on environmental health, behavioral factors, health outcomes, and demographic risk factors, that all affect human health. The most recent version of the WELL standard, WELL Building Standard™ version 2 (WELL v2™), “includes a set of strategies—backed by the latest scientific research—that aim to advance human health through design interventions and operational protocols and policies and foster a culture of health and well-being.” So essentially what the WELL Standard is, is a higher standard for spaces that aims to improve the health and wellness of the people who frequent those spaces.

Well Building
Well Building

WELL is an evidence-based system, that measures points within each of the 10 core concepts, as well as additional innovation points outside of the core concepts. The 10 core concepts that are considered are air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community.

1. Air: High indoor air quality across the building’s lifetime.

Air
Air
Water

2. Water: Quality/distribution of drinking water and water management that supports building materials.

Water

3. Nourishment: Availability of fruits and vegetables, as well as nutritional transparency.

Nourishment
Nourishment
Light

4. Light: Exposure to light that promotes visual, mental, and biological health.

Light

5. Movement: Physical activity promoted by design, policies, and programs.

Movement
Movement
Thermal Comfort

6. Thermal Comfort: Improved HVAC design to meet individual thermal preferences.

Thermal Comfort

7. Sound: Acoustical comfort parameters to encourage occupant health and well-being.

Sound
Sound
Materials

8. Materials: Reduce human exposure to chemicals that may impact health.

Materials

9. Mind: Promote mental health through policy, program, and design strategies.

Mind
Mind
Community

10. Community: Access to essential healthcare, inclusive and engaged occupant community.

Community

All of these WELL concepts are third-party verified through the Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), with a minimum level of points to acquire various levels of the WELL Certification. These levels are WELL Bronze (40 points), WELL Silver (50 points), WELL Gold (60 points), and WELL Platinum (80 points).

So, is WELL a possibility for you? The latest WELL v2 standard has been channeled into a more accessible, adaptable, and equitable rating system. It is scalable and globally applicable, designed to be responsive and inclusive to fit any environment. It can be applied to a building that is already in use, or to a new building. The WELL Building Standard is designed to be applicable to any organization with the intent of making any space better wholistically for the people who are often in that space.

Interested in learning more about the WELL Building Standard and if it’s an option for you? Get in touch with our WELL-certified expert, Alex Kircher.

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