The Next Generation in Sustainability – Well Buildings

When it comes to sustainability your building or the building you work in may be green – but is it well?

Darwin Fisher works with architects, designers, flooring manufacturers and builders that understand and implement sustainable solutions. This industry demands staying abreast of changes in building standards and how they relate to both the environment and people. The following is a high level overview of how sustainability has progressed over the past 25 years.

The WELL Building Standard

Sustainability: From buildings to its inhabitants. Photo credit: Unsplash, Mihaly Koles

Sustainability: A Brief History Starting with Buildings

In the past the sustainability movement began with the focus soley on building efficiencies standards. In 1993, over 25 years ago, the origins of this movement began with the founding of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC ). This is also when the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard began.

LEED emerged as the leading and most recognized worldwide, green building rating and standards certification system that provided construction and design specifications to create healthy, highly efficient, resource-conscious buildings.

Today’s LEED buildings are constructed to use resources wisely and are less costly to maintain. They are also designed to maximize employee health and productivity by using “fewer resources, reducing waste and negative environmental impacts to decrease lifecycle costs.”

The WELL Building Standard and sustainability

Photo credit: Unsplash, Scott Webb

The Benefits of Sustainability: LEED Certification

According to the organization’s website, there are various benefits of being a LEED recognized organization, including:

  • Faster lease up rates
  • Higher resale value
  • Healthier indoor space
  • Lower use of energy, water and other resources
  • Better for building occupants, the community and the environment
  • Enhances brand
  • Establishes company as a leader in green building

Over the past several years there has been continued emphasis on creating better designed, more healthy workplaces to increase collaboration, productivity and overall wellbeing. New research has given way to the next phase of the sustainability movement launched in October 2014. After six years of research and development, The WELL Building Standard was introduced by The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This newer standard has primarily shifted the focus from the way a building is built to the inhabitants of the building itself.

Sustainability: The Next Phase Focuses on People

According to its website, “IWBI delivers the cutting-edge WELL Building Standard, the leading global rating system and the first to be focused exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness.”

The company’s website states it is leading the global movement to transform buildings and communities in ways that help people thrive and is backed scientific research.

The WELL Building standard is divided into seven sections: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. Each of these sections goes into much greater detail about exact requirements.

The WELL Building Standard

Today’s sustainable work environments. Photo credit: Unsplash

The WELL v2™ pilot is a recently launched version of its popular The WELL Building Standard, and the WELL Community Standard pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities.

The company further states that “IWBI mobilizes the global wellness community through management of the WELL AP™ credential, convenes a global network of organizations through IWBI membership, pursues applicable research, develops educational resources, and advocates for policies that promote health and wellness everywhere.”

In summary, a WELL certified building is designed to enhance the health, happiness and productivity of its users. Designers can now create spaces that incorporate solutions that affect the human body, directly impacting human health. By providing healthy, vibrant environments it’s a win-win situation for both companies and employees.

How healthy is your building?

For more information on how to become LEED certified or the WELL Building Standard certification, please click the links above.

For a free consultation on your next flooring design and installation please click here.

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