If you’ve been following the news in green architecture and design, you may have heard of the WELL Building Standard. It first drew attention back in 2013, when The New York Times ran a story on this new certification. In the years since, the WELL Building Standard has come into its own as a new and exciting development.
An Overview of the WELL Building Standard
The standard was created by Delos, a real estate company with a focus on health and wellness, and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), which was launched by Delos. The goal behind WELL was to create a certification based on improving human health and well-being while integrating existing green building standards like LEED and Living Building Challenge.
From Mallory Phillips: The 7 areas that WELL certification considers
WELL considers seven aspects of a space: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. For a building to be WELL certified, it must receive passing scores in every concept, indicating that each feature meets the standard’s requirements for human well-being. Finally, a building may receive Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification.
WELL is third-party certified by Green Business Certification Inc., the same company that administers LEED certifications. A WELL certification is valid for three years, a timeline that encourages a vigilant commitment to the standard. In addition, each WELL certified building is required to submit annual performance data for “select features that require more frequent reporting.” Other ongoing requirements may apply; for example, a WELL certified building may need to furnish proof of maintenance or continual parameter measurements.
From Guardian Service Industries: The 5-step WELL Building Standard certification process
The New Era of Building Certifications
The WELL Building Standard is part of a larger movement in architecture to create buildings that are better for the environment and better for the humans that occupy them. Delos and the IWBI have been actively promoting the WELL Building Standard. In 2016, the IWBI partnered with the American Institute of Architects to “advance the AIA’s design and health initiative.” The IWBI has also launched the WELL Community Standard to expand WELL’s scope and bring the same exacting specifications to communities.
The WELL Building Standard quickly gained global favor, and by 2017 there was already more than 100 million square feet of WELL certified buildings. While it hasn’t replaced Energy Star or LEED, WELL offers a fresh perspective on certification that has been welcomed with open arms in the biophilic design community.
From SlideShare: The 3 levels of WELL certification
To learn more about the WELL Building Standard, you can visit its official website. For more in-depth knowledge, the U.S. Green Building Council offers a course that explains the basics of WELL certification. Finally, WELL maintains a blog that publishes articles on all aspects of the standard and its implementations in the world. As the worlds of architecture and design continue to seek paths that enhance human wellness, there’s no doubt the WELL Building Standard will become an important part of the solution.