Recently our friends at Green Building Council Australia (GBCA) invited Greensense to attend an introduction to the new ‘WELL Building Standard’ administered by the International Well Building Institute (IBWA). A little research had us intrigued to find out more – we’re always interested in new ways of thinking which advance the health of buildings and their occupants.
WELL… what is it?
The ‘WELL Building Standard’ is described as an “evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and wellbeing.”
So what does that mean for tenants? If your building is ‘WELL’ certified, it means it’s gone through a raft of tests to ensure a broad range of wellbeing and happiness factors have been fine tuned to give you the healthiest possible work space.
And what does it mean for building owners or managers? It’s another option to position your building ahead of the rest in an increasingly competitive property management. Not to mention providing measurable health and well-being to building occupants.
It sounds like it might be hard?
Yes, it can be! Well is comprised of over 100 features, and there is a detailed certification process which requires everything from water balance chemical analysis to light level testing. But these are things a modern building or fit-out should be striving to get right. And GBCI (who provide the third-party certification for WELL) will assign you an Assessor to help you along the way. The people at IBWI are also quick to point out the resulting benefits in productivity and business performance.
But don’t we already have building standards? What about NABERS and Green Star?
WELL has a pretty different focus. While NABERS and Green Star focus on the building, fit-out or operational performance, WELL goes much more broadly into people’s wellbeing. Key differentiators include a focus on the work space promoting:
- An active and healthy lifestyle through fitness and activity spaces and incentives
- Healthy and safe eating habits – think free fruit and veggies
- A comfortable and productive environment through ergonomics, thermal and sound quality measures
- Air, water and light quality, and
- Optimal cognitive and emotional health.
So why haven’t we already heard about it?
It’s pretty new – as at our session in August 2016 there were only around 200 projects registered or certified worldwide. But the team are working hard to spread the WELL word, and the Fifth Estate reports that Australian companies are lining up to get involved. And now is an especially good time to do it, with IBWI offering discount pilot pricing to early adopters who register before 30 June 1017.
Sounds awesome! I’m keen! But how do I promote my WELL accreditation?
Great question! Along with Green Star, NABERs and building performance accreditation, we can also help you promote your wellness story on an interactive learning display.
For example, we recently completed a display for the new HBF for their brand new head office in Perth’s prominent Kings Square precinct. It gives building occupants information on water and energy use, but also tracks information on employee activity such as use of stairs. This information was really important to HBF because of their focus on health and wellbeing.
Greensense are also walking the walk, having recently built a display for our new Perth office. As well as information on our electricity consumption, we’ve installed sensors to provide real time tracking of our indoor environment, including temperature, humidity and air quality. This, combined with posters giving live updates on public transport, creates a terrific integrated sustainability and wellness story that the Greensense staff are really enjoying.