|The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation that is dedicated to improving human health and well-being in buildings and communities through its WELL Building Standard, an initiative to transform buildings and communities in ways that put people first.
The WELL Building Standard is a global rating system that focuses on ways buildings can improve comfort, motivate positive choices, and enhance health and wellness.
The standard can be applied to new and existing commercial tenant spaces, office buildings, sports facilities, restaurants, hospitality venues, residential structures, and other types of buildings. Administered by the IWBI and certified through the Green Building Certification Institute, it works in conjunction with LEED and various other green building certifications.
The WELL Building Standard was launched in 2014 following six years of research and development. It was developed by integrating scientific and medical research as well as literature on behavioral factors, environmental health, health outcomes, and various other risk factors together with leading practices in building design, construction, and management. It has become the premier standard for designers, architects, contractors, and building owners seeking to implement and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness in the built environment.
The WELL Building Standard’s holistic approach to health and well-being in the built environment addresses behavior, operations, and design. According to the IWBI, “WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.”
WELL is composed of more than 100 features that address issues involving health, comfort, and knowledge of building occupants. It is arranged into seven areas of concentration, or concepts, including air, water, light, comfort, and mind.
In addition, specific target health areas are identified, such as energy, sleep, stress, vitality, resilience, and alignment.
WELL certification may be awarded at the silver, gold, or platinum level, and certification requires that a building meet all preconditions for the seven concepts. Reassessment is needed every three years in order to maintain WELL Standard certification.
An outstanding example of a WELL Certified Structure is the Tone headquarters building in New York City, which, in 2017, became the first WELL Certified project in the Big Apple. The structure features innovative lighting, enhanced HVAC systems, and green building materials with no or low volatile organic compounds. In addition, tenants have incorporated additional wellness features and concepts into their own built environments.
The WELL Building Standard has raised the bar for eco-friendly buildings that benefit both human occupants and the surrounding environment. It emphasizes biophilic design, a concept that prioritizes human wellness through connectivity with nature and the natural environment, and it is empowering architects and designers to imagine and create more sustainable, health-minded, people-friendly buildings.
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