An early look at WELL v2

An early look at WELL v2

03 Nov 2017
/ Soyoung Hwang

It’s been a little more than three years since we launched the WELL Building Standard. Since then, we’ve grown to encompass nearly 600 projects, spanning 31 countries around the world.

It’s a monumental achievement for IWBI. And every day we’re growing and evolving—from the size of our community, which currently stands at over 2,000 WELL APs, to the types of projects and buildings we work with through our ‘All Projects In’ strategy.

Through this growth, we’re learning not only from a growing body of research supporting the healthy building movement, but also from all of you; about what you need from us, and about what we collectively need to do to promote health and wellness by the way we design, construct, and maintain our environments.

Next year, IWBI will introduce a suite of enhancements to the WELL Building Standard. These enhancements will enable us to be more responsive to the places and ways people are applying WELL, and to have a stronger impact in how we catalyze our buildings as delivery systems for health and wellness benefits.

Here’s a bit of what we have planned:

Program Refinements

We’re expanding the reach and accessibility of WELL so that more people can benefit from healthier places to live, work and play. This means we are committed to addressing program elements like cost and different models of engagement with IWBI, to ensure both equity and rigor in WELL.

Localized Metrics

We’ll be taking a more nuanced approach to addressing health risks and interventions, specifically—based on building type and region. On top of introducing more international equivalencies, WELL v2 will offer customized scorecards that are sensitive to your regional ambient conditions, regulations and market best practices.

Simplified Scoring

WELL v1 has always had an implied weighting to features through the distinction between preconditions and optimizations. In WELL v2, we’re introducing a scoring system where each optimization feature will be assigned a distinct point-value. This is important because beyond the recommended scorecard, you will have an ability, if desired, to further refine and tailor the scorecard to meet your needs and priorities; to craft a unique pathway to certification that aligns with your goals and interests.

WELL v2 will still have mandatory preconditions; however, we will work to ensure that these preconditions are robust and meaningful across all applications. And, we’ll work with you to identify new pathways to meet the intents of the preconditions.

Feature Codes

We’ll continue to learn from the scientific research and design community to incorporate new understandings into an evolving and expansive feature library for you to explore and consider including in your scorecard. Due to the iterative nature of the scorecard, we will retire feature numbers and introduce feature codes that can stay consistent across various potential scorecard configurations.

10 Concepts

With WELL v2 we’re also expanding to 10 WELL concepts. This is not a radical departure from our existing framework; in fact this approach better acknowledges significant concepts that have always been a part of WELL. New concepts will include sound, temperature, materials and community.

Performance Verification Revisited

We will introduce adjustments to testing protocols based on the findings of lab testing conducted on air quality, daylight and electric light, and other environmental parameters. Further, we will introduce novel pathways for performance verification that will help address challenges associated with scheduling and timing, and reduce associated costs.

Ultimately, WELL v2 drives the same mission for health and wellness that IWBI has always stood behind:

Our health is a function of many things. When we think about what exactly it is that makes us healthy, or even what makes us sick, we might look to our genes for explanations. But research increasingly shows that our behaviors are significant drivers of health outcomes, and so too is our environment--both social and physical.

What’s more, there’s a relationship between our environment and our behaviors, and even an interaction between our environment and our genes. Our environment can expose us to healthy conditions, or it can expose us to toxins that compromise our health. Our environment can reinforce certain predispositions, or nudge us to change them, for better or for worse. We have the ability to powerfully shape our environments, so let’s make sure we create spaces, both physical and social, that enable us all to live happier, healthier lives.

There are a host of other enhancements planned for WELL v2, which we will announce in the coming months. Stay tuned for more updates and some sneak peaks, as well as opportunities to become engaged in the process. Your guidance is essential to our success. We are counting on you to provide your thoughts and feedback and continue to tell us on what you need so that we can shape, together, the next evolution of WELL.

Interested in learning more? Join us at Greenbuild in Boston on Thursday, November 8 at the IWBI booth for an early look at WELL v2.