Even as there is a need to focus on more sustainable and eco-friendly building practices in general, we cannot ignore the equally important need to create built environments that promote our own health and well-being. It is out of this need that the WELL Building Standard was developed. WELL certification places people at the heart of design decisions, focusing on how buildings can improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Since horticultural and biophilic design play a huge role in wellness, it stands to reason that Horticultural Creations plays a key role in the WELL certification process for many of our clients.
Understanding the WELL Building Standard
The WELL Building Standard is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being. It’s administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and third-party certified by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). The standard is structured around ten Core Concepts, each of which is designed to address issues that impact the health, comfort, or knowledge of occupants.
- Air: Enhance air quality by reducing indoor air pollution.
- Water: Encourage hydration by providing clean and safe water.
- Nourishment: Promote healthy eating habits through mindful food offerings and education.
- Light: Improve productivity and sleep quality with appropriate lighting systems.
- Movement: Encourage physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors.
- Thermal Comfort: Create comfortable environments that are easily adaptable to personal preferences.
- Sound: Mitigate noise to create acoustically pleasant spaces.
- Materials: Use safe and sustainable materials.
- Mind: Support mental health through design elements, programs, and policies.
- Community: Foster a sense of community and encourage positive social interactions.
WELL Certification is the process of measuring performance and issuing scores in each of the above Core Concepts. A space can be certified as Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, based on overall scoring.
What’s the Difference Between LEED Certification and WELL Certification?
While both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and WELL certifications focus on creating sustainable and healthy environments, they approach this goal from different perspectives. LEED primarily concentrates on reducing a building’s environmental impact, while WELL places human health and well-being at the forefront of design considerations.
- Focus: LEED focuses on environmental sustainability, while WELL emphasizes human health and well-being.
- Assessment: LEED evaluates the building’s overall sustainability performance, including energy and water use, while WELL assesses the impact of building features on human health and comfort.
Why WELL Certification Matters
WELL certification brings numerous benefits to a building and its occupants. It can enhance energy efficiency, boost employee productivity, and improve the overall health and well-being of building occupants. For instance, WELL-certified buildings often incorporate biophilic design elements such as interior greenery and plantscaping, which are known to reduce stress, enhance cognitive function, and improve indoor air quality.
Numerous studies and research conducted have shown that companies pursuing WELL certification have experienced the following advantages on average:
- Up to 10 percent improved mental health among employees
- Increased workplace satisfaction by 28 percent
- Ten-point jump in median productivity rates
- Eight percent improvement in employee performance
- Reported 26 percent increase in overall wellbeing
As if that weren’t enough, buildings that are WELL certified tend to be more in demand, garnering rents approximately 7.7 percent higher than properties that aren’t certified.
The WELL Building Standard is more than just a certification; it’s a philosophy that prioritizes human health and well-being in our built environment. As a WELL Accredited Professional, our very own Jake Wegweiser is equipped to advise clients in qualifying for WELL certification, ensuring their buildings not only meet the necessary standards but also provide a healthier and more productive environment for their occupants and/or employees.
In a world where we spend 90% of our time indoors, isn’t it time we designed our spaces with our health and happiness in mind? Contact us to learn more about how integrating green spaces and creative horticultural design can improve wellness and help you qualify for WELL certification.