Buildings are constructed for humans. They are designed for human activity, and since we spend more than 90 percent of our time inside the built environment, it is crucial that we create something that positively impacts our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. This is exactly what WELL Building Standards are all about.
What are WELL Standards?
A model to improve human-centered design and construction, WELL is a performance-based system formulated by the International Well Building Institute for certifying features of the built environment that impacts health and wellness while integrating existing green building standards like LEED and Living Building Challenge.
What are WELL concepts and what do they consist of?
WELL considers seven concepts of a space – air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. All these factors are optimized based on over 100 WELL requirements that are designed to improve overall health, performance, mood, and sleep of people using the building. To get a building ‘WELL certified’ it must receive passing scores in every section, indicating that each feature meets the standard’s requirements for human well-being. Based on the score received, the building may receive Gold, Silver, or Platinum certification.
Air – This concept aims to ensure high levels of indoor air quality across the lifetime of the building. From air filtration to moisture control, cleaning protocols to use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials, ventilation to healthy entrances, this concept consists of strategies to address all these and more. WELL seeks to implement design strategies that promote clean air and minimize human exposure to harmful contaminants.
Water – WELL standard for water aims to promote safe and clean water through evaluating the building’s water source, implementation of proper filtration techniques, and regular water testing measures to maintain quality of water over time.
Nourishment – A variety of social, economic, physiological, and environmental factors affect dietary behaviors of individuals. This aspect aims at access to healthy, wholesome food, limiting unhealthy ingredients, promoting mindful eating, hygienic food preparation, and encouraging better eating habits.
Light – This concept aims at providing guidelines that minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhancing productivity supporting a good quality of sleep. From activity-based lights to color quality, daylighting to electric and solar light glare control, and more.
Fitness – WELL standard for fitness aims to promote the integration of physical activity into the occupants’ everyday lives. From exterior and interior active design to activity spaces, activity-based working to awareness to injury prevention, it strategizes to design opportunities and support for an active lifestyle and discourages sedentary behavior.
Comfort – Indoor environments should be designed to provide maximum comfort. The comfort aspect establishes requirements to create a distraction-free, productive, and comfortable built environment. From visual and physical ergonomics to thermal comfort, to acoustics, this aspect takes a holistic approach to comfort. Mind – Since the mind plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of people, WELL mind concept promoted mental health through policy, program, and design strategies. From health and wellness awareness to beauty and design, adaptable spaces to building health policy, material transparency to organizational transparency, this concept aims to positively impact mood, sleep, and stress of the occupants.
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