Technical Perspectives: Healthy Buildings and WELL Certification
In our business, it's not often that you see Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and Robert DeNiro talking about buildings. This year though these celebrities, among others, are touting the WELL Health Safety seal in recent ads on your favorite shows. Since its inception in 2013, there's been a moderate buzz in our industry circulating about WELL standards and healthy buildings. The concept of making our built environment safer, and more comfortable for occupants has been around for decades. This year however, the importance and focus on making the indoor environment healthier is imperative as we all became more aware of the necessity of indoor air quality and sanitization of the spaces where we live and work.
In our previous content, we've covered the health and sustainability of building systems and the steps that the industry is taking address the need for improved standards through ASHRAE and in building technology and innovations to decrease contaminants. Now, we’re examining the trends of WELL certification and healthy buildings and the benefits, energy use, and cost implications of these standards.
WELL Certification is a performance based certification system created through seven years of rigorous research and development by the WELL Building Institute. Developed working with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, the WELL Building Standard is a combination of design and construction best practices and building performance that influence the health and wellness of the occupants. The WELL Building Standard provides evidence-based categories that increase occupant health. These are air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal Comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. While many of these influence the physical construction of a building or design, it is important to note that several are achieved through policy and culture initiatives of the occupants.
How does this apply now that we are living in a pandemic and will it become ever more important post-pandemic?
WELL certification and the WELL standards will increasingly become more widely used in both new and existing buildings as we move past the pandemic. Often scientists and health professionals state that this isn't the last pandemic we will see and as viruses and bacteria mutate and adapt, we will continuously need to seek better ways of healthy living to prevent the spread of infectious disease. To explore these ideas and learn more about WELL we spoke with a few of our colleagues at architecture firms with experience and accreditation.
Eric Booth, AIA, president of Desmone, spoke with us about their experience certifying their office and why it was important to them. He shared their experience with us during and after the renovation and expansion of their headquarters, now a WELL Gold Certified facility.
Join us as we explore more on this topic with Eric in the coming weeks. You can also follow our posts on social media for more from Desmone about WELL Certification and the benefits and challenges.