Building occupants are beginning to demand that their indoor environment contribute to their own health and well-being. The WELL rating system can help
In the new era of COVID-19, health and wellness has become more front-of-mind than ever. As people start returning to the workplace, clean air, clean water, clean surfaces, and social distancing will become even more important. There is much that makes a space comfortable, conducive to work and learning, healthy, and productive, including measures that we might not always consider for our work environments. Using the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL rating system can help provide a safer, healthier, and more productive environment.
We spend 90 percent of our time indoors and the buildings where we live, work, relax, and learn deeply impact our health, well-being, and productivity. Building owners, facility managers, and most of all, building occupants are beginning to demand that their indoor environment be not just comfortable (not too hot or too cold, not too noisy, etc.), but that it contribute to their own health and well-being.
In the past, health and wellness were often ignored as facility engineers strived to lower energy costs in buildings. Lamps were often replaced with minimal concern for improving lighting quality and mechanical systems were replaced and controlled with only moderate concern for indoor air quality. With the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, the focus became more holistic, addressing broad sustainability goals, including interrelated operational issues such as energy efficiency, water use, materials, waste management, and indoor environmental quality, as well as some measures to improve occupant health.
Now, primarily due to occupant demand and an understanding that the cost of personnel far exceeds the cost of energy and even the cost of rent and taxes, health and wellness are becoming part of overall sustainability strategies. At the same time, rating systems like WELL that focus exclusively on occupant health and productivity are now part of the conversation.