Founded in 2013, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) promotes healthy, sustainable structures via the WELL Building Standard. The standard includes guidelines and construction resources for architects and builders who wish to erect fixtures that not only meld with the natural world but also enhance the lives of the people who live within their walls.
More than 270 projects accounting for roughly 57 million square feet have received WELL Certification, according to the organization. So what did the creators of these structures have to do to comply with WELL Standards?
The IWBI based its certification requirements on seven central variables: air, comfort, fitness, light, mind, nourishment and water. These correlate to associated design and development philosophies, which in turn take physical shape in the form of specific fabrication stipulations. For example, builders who wish to embrace the first concept must “promote clean air and reduce or minimize the sources of indoor air pollution” via ventilation systems that keep interior carbon dioxide levels below 800 parts per million. Of course, this is not the only construction constraint that firms must meet – there are more than five dozen other requirements that come along with the organization’s clean air philosophy.
Builders can gain WELL Certification for new and existing structures and interiors, as well as core and shell constructions. The organization offers silver and gold certification types.
The Ernst and Young Tower in downtown Toronto is the largest WELL-certified building to date, coming in at roughly 482,000 square feet. Originally constructed in 1992, the 31-story property is part of the TD Centre, the first and only space in Canada with platinum certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
In October of last year, the IWBI celebrated the two-year anniversary of the release of version one of the WELL Building Standards, according to a press release.
“WELL’s tremendous growth over the past two years solidifies the importance of making health and well-being a central focus when it comes to the built environment,” explained IWBI founder Paul Scialla. “We are thrilled with the response from the industry and are excited to continue to build off of this momentum.”
There are currently more than 350 WELL pilot projects in the works, worldwide.