What Is Well?
The WELL Building Standard is a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being. It includes a set of strategies—backed by the latest scientific research—that aim to advance human health through design interventions and operational protocols and policies and foster a culture of health and well-being.
The role buildings can play in human health and well-being has never been more evident or more important. Thanks to an evolving evidence base, we understand more about the relationship between the physical environment and human health than ever before. We know how to create spaces that enhance – rather than hinder – health and well-being. We can measure – and then improve – the quality of our air, water and light. We can design environments that fuel our bodies, move us, keep us connected, inspire our best work and facilitate a good night's sleep.
My goal as a certified WELL Accredited Professional is to create thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being. There are ten areas of accountability with WELL, detailed below.
The WELL air concept seeks to implement holistic design strategies to promote clean air and minimize human exposure to harmful contaminants, in order to maximize benefits to productivity, well-being, and health.
The WELL water concept aims to increase the rate of adequate hydration in building users, reduce health risks due to contaminated water and excessive moisture within buildings and provide adequate sanitation through better infrastructure design and operations coupled with awareness and maintenance of water issues.
The WELL nourishment concept supports healthy and sustainable eating patterns by increasing access to fruits and vegetables, limiting the availability of highly processed foods and designing environments that nudge individuals toward healthier choices.
The WELL light concept aims to provide a lighting environment that reduces circadian phase disruption, improves sleep quality and positively impacts mood and productivity.
The WELL movement concept aims to promote movement, foster physical activity and active living and discourage sedentary behavior, by creating and enhancing opportunities though the spaces where we spend our lives.
→ Thermal Comfort:
The WELL Thermal Comfort concept takes a holistic approach to thermal comfort and provides a combination of research-based interventions to help design buildings that address individual thermal discomfort and support human health, well-being and productivity.
The WELL Sound concept aims to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing the concerns of acoustical comfort through research-based design considerations that buildings can accommodate for the purposes of improving occupant health and well-being.
The WELL Materials concept aims to reduce human exposure, whether direct or through environmental contamination, to chemicals that may impact health during the construction, remodeling, furnishing and operation of buildings.
Mental health is not simply the absence of a mental health condition. Rather, it is a state of well-being, in which individuals are able to live to their fullest potential, cope with normal stresses of life, work productively and contribute to their community. Improving opportunities for restoration through mindfulness programming, restorative spaces and support of optimal sleep can also have a marked impact on physical and mental well-being, including relief from negative symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, pain and stress, as well as enhancements in overall perceived health.
The WELL community concept promotes the implementation of design, policy and operations strategies that focus on addressing health disparities and promoting social diversity and inclusion. Providing access to health services, inclusive and health-promoting policies, and design that enables all individuals to access, participate and thrive within a space can build for a foundation for truly equitable, diverse and healthy communities.
To learn more about the WELL certification process and the International WELL Building Institute, visit https://www.wellcertified.com/