In only 14 years, LEED has become the worldwide gold standard for eco-friendly, energy-efficient construction, but it hasn’t made the same strides in human health-consciousness. Delos Corporation aims to change that with its release of the latest version of the WELL building standard. The new health-conscious construction standards will cooperate with LEED to enhance the impact that our built environment has on human health and wellness.
According to Paul Scialla, a founder of Delos and of the WELL Building Standard, “Our intention was to push the sustainability notion in real estate beyond the environmental considerations and into human or biological considerations in the built environment,” by “combining elements of health, well-being, and preventative medicine into architecture, design, and construction.”
WELL’s goal is to create buildings that work passively, 24/7, to improve human health. “[T]hink of a house that could effectively be a 24-hour car wash working on your body just by living in it,” says Scialla, “We’re taking the largest asset class in the world, real estate, and we’re infusing it with the growing industry of health and wellness. People are spending money on preventative medicine and alternative healing” and Delos believes that if they can “properly codify a standard to work toward those intentions of infusing health and preventative medical practices into four walls and a roof, people will pay for it.”
The WELL standard currently awards three levels of certification: silver, gold, and platinum. The standard itself is based on technology and design criteria from seven categories of building performance that impact human health and well-being:
- Air- To achieve optimal indoor air quality by removing airborne contaminants through prevention and purification
- Water- To achieve optimal water quality as required for each particular use, and removes contaminants through filtration and treatment
- Nourishment- To achieve healthy eating habits through design features, behavioral cues, healthy options, and knowledge of healthier food choices
- Light-To creates task-specific illumination levels and enhanced light quality that improves mood, visual acuity, energy, productivity, and sleep using design, customizable controls, and light therapy
- Fitness-To increase physical activity and ensure access to aerobic, strength, and flexibility training that fits the occupants’ daily schedule
- Comfort-To create a distraction-free, productive, soothing environment using design standards that incorporate control of the acoustic and thermal comfort levels
- Mind-To support mental and emotional health through continual feedback regarding occupant’s professional and personal environments, accommodation of relaxation spaces, and soothing design elements
The International WELL Building Institute will launch the WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) credential this year. WELL AP is an advanced credential intended for real estate, building, and design professionals with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience or 10 years of professional experience plus 12 hours of WELL AP instruction and the successful completion of the WELL AP exam.