The WELL Building Standard® is “an integrated approach that reinvents the build environment around its occupants” in efforts to “promote and improve human health and well-being.”
WELL Certified™ spaces can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants. Developed by leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, the WELL features are organized into seven categories (“concepts”) that focus on the impact of human health within buildings, specifically air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.
While the WELL v1.0 Standards are designed to work harmoniously with the LEED Building Rating System, there has been a new concentration on providing quality air, water, light, and comfort in buildings. For example, a recently released study by the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard University suggests that enhanced ventilation improves decision-making performance for offices workers. At the cost of less than $40 per person per year, worker performance is increased up to 8%, health is improved, and there is a reduction to absenteeism when increasing ventilation rates in office buildings. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/11/14709/html
As MPE engineers, several of these concepts (air, water, light, and comfort) are the heart of what we do. Standards such as WELL confirm the importance of efficient and environmentally conscious designs and how they contribute to the wellbeing of building occupants through providing fresh air, clean water, comfortable lighting and healthy interior environments. For example, when we are determining a method of delivering space conditioning in offices, we may design an underfloor air distribution (UFAD) system to provide ventilation air and comfort by use of flexible thermal controls for individual occupants, assuring thermal comfort for all. At this same time, we are able to minimize the area of conditioning thus optimizing energy efficiency. Other unique MEP engineering designs that focus on air and water filtration, individual comfort controls, and circadian lighting are all geared to support the health well-being of building occupants.
At ESD, we have a vested interest in optimal interior environments and are thrilled about the release of the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standards as they focus on best practices in engineering designs and use evidence –based health and wellness interventions. These align with the same principals we have been passionate about delivering to our clients for almost 30 years.