The WELL® certification program offers office managers and designers a guide on how to create healthy environments, and on a certification process that creates a standard of achievement.
Why is a healthy work environment important?
- Supports a sense of well being
- Encourages productivity
- 90% of our time is spent indoors, and much of that time is at work
- Lowers absentee related costs
In a survey, 90% of respondents admitted that workplace design affects their productivity. (2)
WELL Building Standard®
The WELL® certification program is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people impacted by the built environment. (3)
The goal of WELL® is to address issues that impact the health, comfort and knowledge of occupants through design, operations and behaviour. Supported by years of evidence-based scientific research, this performance-based system evaluates the design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and existing buildings, WELL Core and Shell Compliant™ developments, indoor spaces and WELL® Certified spaces. Performance requirements are in the following seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
Benefits of WELL
- Measurable value of health, well being, productivity and happiness of occupants
- Reduces personnel costs
- Increases real estate value
- Enhances human experiences
Employees surveyed after the WELL® standard implemented at CBRE’s office in Los Angeles stated that:
- 83% of people said they are more productive
- 92% of tenants said the new space created a positive effect on their health
- 94% said the new space created a positive effect in the business performance
- 90% would not go back to their old way of working
How difficult is it to get WELL Certified?
There is a baseline of preconditions, or mandatory requirements, for all certification. In addition to the preconditions, WELL provides a list of optimizations, or feature options, organizations can choose to certify to achieve a higher WELL Building Standard:
- Silver is the basic certification that only requires preconditions
- Gold requires 40% additional optimizations
- Platinum must have all preconditions plus 80% additional optimizations
Since WELL is about certifying spaces for the well being of the people who occupy it, a building on its own cannot be certified. However, buildings can be WELL Core Compliant. This is not a certification but a compliance to help tenants streamline their WELL programs. To achieve compliance, a building must have one optimization from each concept.
Who is eligible for WELL Certification?
- New and Existing Buildings
- WELL is applicable to office buildings where a minimum of 90% of the total floor area is occupied by the building owner and is operated by the same management (i.e., up to 10% of the building may be occupied by a different tenant or operated by different management).
- New and Existing Interiors
- Office projects only occupying a portion of the space in a building, or those that occupy an entire existing building not undergoing major renovation.
- Core and Shell Compliance
- WELL Core and Shell Compliance™ is available for office building projects seeking to implement fundamental features into the entire base building for the benefit of future tenants.
- The Core and Shell typology addresses the building structure, window locations and glazing, building proportions, heating, cooling and ventilation systems and fundamental water quality. This typology also encourages consideration of the site in relation to amenities and opportunities for wellness.
- To qualify as a Core and Shell project, at least 30% of the project area must be intended for use as a commercial or institutional office. No matter what portion of the building will be used for office space, 100% of the building must adhere to the requirements of Core and Shell Compliance.
To maintain WELL Certification®, spaces must be re-certified a minimum of every three years because building conditions can deteriorate over time to the point of adversely affecting the health and wellness of occupants.
LEED vs. WELL
WELL works together with LEED to offer a holistic approach to health for our planet and our people.
In an announcement made on June 9, 2015, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) agreed to promote and advance the WELL Building Standard® (WELL) in Canada.
Even though LEED certification primarily focuses on building operation requirements that impact the physical environment, and WELL exclusively focuses on the health and wellbeing of people, these programs have some requirements that overlap including the smoking ban, day lighting and indoor air quality.
Companies looking to be LEED certified, or are working in the ‘spirit of LEED’, can look to the WELL® certification program as a complimentary program to LEED or can consider WELL® as a standalone program. WELL requires less documentation to be certified than LEED.