Our world is getting greener by the day. As a global community, we are trying vigorously to recycle more, waste less, and become more efficient in everything that we do. Now, with the green building trend towards sustainability firmly in place, the WELL Building Standard is helping to spearhead the next big wave of change – making buildings healthier and greener for those of us who inhabit them.
The days of walking into uninspiring, lean-style working environments that carelessly hemorrhage energy and neglect facility performance with a blind eye are no more. Thanks to the growing popularity of WELL and the rising trend towards human health optimization, the architects and designers of today take care to mindfully consider your well-being and overall satisfaction.
The WELL Building Certification
At the most basic level, WELL is a building performance rating and certification system similar to LEED, but with a focus on human well-being and performance rather than environmental sustainability.
This performance-based system was constructed around seven core concepts to measure, certify, and monitor our working environments. These seven concepts lay the foundation for maximizing human health and wellness within the built environment.
The WELL Building Standard’s core concepts include:
Under each of these concepts is a more complex list of certification “features” or metrics. The list includes over 100 individual metrics that fall under the greater umbrella of the seven core concepts.
The WELL program was developed during the course of seven years of exhaustive research. The research looked intensely at the role of nature and nature-based architectural patterns on human physical and mental wellbeing.
The correlation between human wellbeing and nature is well documented in studies on biophilic design, but WELL is the first building standard to tie all of the research together into a cohesive program that focuses exclusively on the health and wellness of people.
Benefits of a WELL building
In 2013, the CBRE Global Corporate Headquarters in Los Angeles became the first commercial office space to achieve WELL Certification. Upon initial analysis of the pilot program, employees working in the Headquarters reported overwhelmingly positive outcomes.
- 83% felt more productive
- 92% reported a positive effect on health and wellbeing
- 94% claimed the space had a positive impact on business performance
- 93% reported easier collaboration
After seeing such great success from WELL v1, WELL introduced WELL v2 in 2018. Using the latest health data and user feedback, WELL v2 maintains the first four WELL concepts and expands the concept list to ten.
- Thermal Comfort
Version two of WELL was built with the goal of accessibility. WELL wanted to put even more truth behind their mission of “[advancing] health buildings for all.” The new version aims to meet the needs of any type of building, as its dynamic nature allows for continuous advancement and change. V2 provides a much more adaptable scorecard than v1. The new concept provides the opportunity to build a unique scorecard with the features that are relevant to your building.
Why businesses are betting on WELL
To date, there have been over 2,000 WELL-certified projects registered across 52 countries. These projects represent over 391 million square feet in built space. These numbers continue to grow by the day. There are several reasons why WELL is making such expansive waves in the business world. The most significant is the impact that the initiative has on the overall health and productivity of the employees, a company’s largest and most important asset.
As an engine operating at peak performance helps to drives a car to victory in a race, a workforce that is happy, healthy, and efficient workforce leads to increased success and higher profits for the entire company. By constructing facilities that integrate green design elements, businesses can expect lower physiological stress, increased attention span, increased cognitive functioning, and improved employee well-being across the board.
In the same vein, by incorporating plants into the working environment, employees will have lower blood pressure, cleaner air to breathe, lowered risk of illness and an overall boost in wellbeing. WELL effectively leads to a more productive and creative workforce with lower absenteeism rates and lower healthcare costs. By definition, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
This is great news for the employee. A company’s staff is the backbone of the business and is a major driver of overall success. This is why it makes absolute business sense to invest in them. This is the core mission of WELL: to make businesses more effective by making the employees more productive.
The advantages that employees gain from WELL are stunning and make a compelling argument in and of themselves. And because of WELL’s inherent marriage to green design and sustainable building techniques, the business case only gets stronger for companies to adopt the new standard on the block. For instance, studies performed by Johnson Controls and United States Green Building Council have shown productivity gains between 5 and 16 percent for certified green buildings.
In addition, new building construction is expected to grow 6% in 2016 to $712 billion, giving WELL projects ample growth opportunities as the construction companies and architects are rapidly adopting green, sustainable building and green design methods.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that more businesses are beginning to take a serious look at the WELL Building Standard. Maximizing efficiency and streamlining business processes is a top priority in our ever-evolving economic landscape.
The unexpected business bonus
WELL’s results and returns are allowing an increasing number of big businesses to go all-in on the new building revolution. When terms like increased efficiency, productivity, streamlined, and creativity come up at board meetings, this catches the attention of executives and decision-makers alike. However, it’s not the only demographic that is listening to the collage of optimistic terminology being generated by the WELL Building Standard, and those who are listening are bringing with them an unexpected bonus for businesses that go WELL.
The movers and shakers of tomorrow listen closely to the hype around the types of projects with which WELL is involved, and big companies are catching on. Terms such as lifestyle-focused, fitness-forward, healthy living, innovative design, and cultural engagement attract millennials. They define the generation and the values that they hold close. They also want to work for companies that have their best interests at heart. This unexpected side effect of WELL is driving a lot of America’s top talent straight through the doors of the WELL and LEED adopters.
WELL doesn’t just keep your current employees and staff running like a well-oiled machine. Businesses that make the investment are positioning themselves to attract top-level talent. The benefits to the employees, the business, and the environment come full circle with the development of the WELL standard.
Yes, these are exciting times we live in. Buildings now monitor their carbon footprints and have reached a new level of technological sophistication. Today our future is bright as we head forth into tomorrow. Our buildings and working environments will help us to reach our maximum potential, and WELL is playing a crucial role in paving the way to that future.
To find out how Ambius can help you reach your WELL building potential, contact us today.
Can’t get enough sustainability and design news and trends? We recommend that you check out The Office Design Trends of 2020!