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WELL Building Standard® Measures Health of Indoors

February 18, 2014 | 2 comments

Green building certification programs have one thing in common: They focus on the exterior and interior design and operation of the facility itself.

Based on several findings which conclude that buildings have a strong influence on the health, well-being, and performance of tenants and occupants, Delos Living has developed the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

IWBI’s new WELL Building Standard takes green building design and maintenance one step further; it’s meant to work alongside other green building rating systems like Green Globes or LEED certification. Instead of focusing solely on building design that’s good for the environment, it also encourages design that’s beneficial for the people inside these buildings. The WELL Building Standard is the result of seven years of research developed by Delos along with leading architects, scientists, and wellness thought leaders.

The WELL Building Standard aims to help building owners turn indoor spaces into environments that passively work to improve health. The standard’s framework is based on technology enhancements and performance-based measures in seven categories relevant to health in the built environment:

1. Air
Facility Focus: air quality, ventilation, filtration
Impacts: upper respiratory health, headaches, fatigue

2. Water
Facility Focus: water conservation, removal of bacteria and sediment, accessible placement of water to promote hydration
Impacts: gastrointestinal, cosmetic, cardiovascular, and endocrine health

3. Nourishment
Facility Focus: ergonomically designed kitchen and eating spaces, minimal surface contaminants, accessible placement of nourishment spaces to promote health and hydration
Impacts: heart attack risk, immune system support, body mass index, cancer risk

4. Light
Facility Focus: adequate daylight, high-intensity light, circadian lighting controls
Impacts: circadian rhythm, eye development, sleep patterns, serotonin regulation, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

5. Fitness
Facility Focus: rooms dedicated to exercise equipment, attractive stairs and design to encourage walking, bicycle paths
Impacts: stress reduction, mood maintenance, heart health, weight management

6. Comfort
Facility Focus: ergonomic workspaces, access to spa and sauna spaces, antimicrobial surface protection, floors with maximum heel support, noise protection, electro-magnetic field protection
Impacts: productivity, fatigue, heart rate, anxiety/tension, immune function, muscle pain

7. Mind
Facility Focus: indoor plants, access to natural light
Impacts: immune function, heart rate, blood pressure, headaches

The program is in pilot phase in the categories of new construction, existing buildings, core and shell, tenant improvement, hospitality, educational facilities, sports/recreation, retail/food, and multi-family. MGM Grand in Las Vegas is one of the participating buildings; the hotel currently reports a 30% premium on its “Stay Well” rooms, which are built to the WELL Building Standard.

Would you consider pursing the WELL Building Standard as part of your green building certification? Why or why not?


  1. Jamil Saad
    March 15, 2014

    Am interested in the program,looking closely forward to knowing more as an Architect.

  2. Vista
    March 19, 2014

    Hi Jamil! Thanks for your note. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds!

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