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How a workplace can truly be WELL

Written by: Alexa Stone

So… what is WELL?

The WELL Building Standard is managed and administered by the International WELL Building Institute, whose main focus is to improve human well-being and health through the built environment. USGBC describes WELL as 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 a tremendous step toward creating healthier overall indoor environments. A popular statistic shows that we spend an average of 90% of our lives indoors. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS) has charted the percentages of time we, as a nation, spend in various environments. They find that average of 86.9% of our time is spent indoors. An additional 5.5% of our time is in a vehicle.

The triple bottom line

A major component to sustainability is the implementation of the triple bottom line approach, which focuses on social, environmental, and financial sustainability. Many organizations have adopted that approach. When we think about sustainability, there is an inclination to think about the environment first and foremost. However, the social component or “social sustainability” is no less critical.

Citizens today continue to become more aware of sustainability issues. This awareness, in conjunction with technology, perfectly positions WELL as the complementary certification to LEED. We are in a unique position, to continue to advance human health in the built environment, which will ultimately lead to harnessing the capability of buildings to benefit overall human health; calming our minds, strengthening our bodies, and encouraging thoughtful collaboration. Who doesn’t want that?

There’s much more to know about WELL. A future article will explore how LEED and WELL work together, certifying a better environment in energy-efficient buildings. Please stay tuned!