Global standards that promote environmental stewardship, such as LEED certification, have proven their long-term value through promoting energy savings for the life of the building and increasing value with the certification process. A new global certification program, Well Certification, brings the methods and standards of sustainability to a new metric: holistic human health in industrial design and building.
The new standard focuses design consideration on seven elements: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Best-in-class air and water filtration systems are standard in new green building design, but the Well Certification goes several steps further, by introducing research-verified methods of encouraging healthy human behavior, such as food sources that are healthy, natural light and the ability to interact with nature, both inside and outside the building; meditation and quiet spaces; and comfort factors such as ergonomics, noise, temperature controls for environmental comfort, and other standards.
The first Well-Certified new building construction has been awarded to Structure Tone in NYC; there are over 350 new building projects in the works using Well standards. The program is designed for new construction, existing buildings and interiors, retail, multi-family residential, and is currently in pilot for education and restaurant uses.
With the value of a productive workforce at an all-time high, efforts to promote healthy engagement in the workplace should include design that promotes both physical and emotional welfare. Further, reducing the incidence of injury and illness related to the work environment reduces absenteeism, lost productivity, and medical costs.
Well Certification can be obtained by architects and designers, and building projects can be registered with the International Well Building Institute for inclusion in their certification program.