What’s new under the WELL v2 pilot launched by the International WELL Building Institute?
The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) was the first tool of its kind to focus exclusively on human health. Since the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) first launched in 2014, WELL has been used in nearly 1,000 projects across 37 countries around the world. At its core, WELL takes a rigourous, performance-based approach with the aim of maximizing the impact of healthy buildings.
The projects that have become WELL Certified to date have provided valuable insights, including post-occupancy metrics that demonstrate the value of designing for health. CBRE Canada found that in its WELL Certified offices, the total employee turnover rate has fallen by almost one third and the hiring rate for new talent has doubled. A report from World Green Building Council concluded that Cundall’s new office (WELL Certified Gold), which focused on improved indoor air quality, including continuous monitoring of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds, has saved the company £200,000 due to a reduction of four sick days per year per employee.
IWBI plans to regularly update WELL based on input from the growing movement, expanding evidence base and new research. To that end, on May 31, IWBI unveiled the WELL v2™ pilot, the next version WELL. This second iteration is designed to advance IWBI’s global aim to build a healthier future for all by taking a number of measures:
- Consolidating several existing pilot programs (multifamily residential, commercial kitchen, retail, education facilities and restaurants) in one universal set of features.
- Identifying the most pressing health issues in different geographies around the world to address local opportunities and imperatives. For example, many feature criteria are linked to risk factors addressed by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) database, which provides national-level data for countries around the world estimating disease burden and associated risk factors.
- Expanding the concepts that make up WELL to include Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials and Community. These concepts have been introduced separately to better acknowledge significant aspects of health that have always been a part of WELL.
- Expanding feature strategies, which project teams can select based on what will have the greatest impact and provide the most value. WELL v2 operates on a points-based system, which is determined based on the extent to which a feature addresses a specific health concern or provides opportunity for health promotion.
- Introducing an early phase review, WELL D&O, so project teams can confirm they’re on the right track as they make ongoing and incremental improvements.
What hasn’t changed in WELL v2 is that the program continues to emphasize scientific rigour, technical excellence and verified performance in the design of healthy buildings. Stay up to date on WELL v2 at https://v2.wellcertified.com.
Jessica Cooper is chief commercial officer at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). She was one of the first WELL Accredited Professionals and a WELL Faculty. Jessica keeps herself healthy by seeking yoga wherever she may be, having practiced at studios in more than six countries and 15 cities around the world! #WeAreWELL