Synergies between LEED and WELL: Charting my career path in the sustainable development industry

Synergies between LEED and WELL: Charting my career path in the sustainable development industry

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
/ By:
Monica Davis

WELL Certification

Like most who choose to enter the environmental sustainability industry, I’ve always loved being outside. Whether it was winter, spring, summer or fall – the outdoors was my playground. It was no surprise to my family and friends that I decided to go the biology route in college and eventually receive my PhD in insect biology and environmental conservation. How much more of a green thumb and science nerd can you get? In graduate school, I was introduced to the impact of urbanization on the environment, specifically biodiversity, water quality and energy use. I was instantly connected with this aspect of ecology, research that was tangible and had a direct anthropogenic impact. In an effort to learn more about sustainable development, I decided to study for the LEED Green Associate Exam.

After I took the exam, I couldn’t help but ask myself, why do we only focus on how buildings impact outdoor environments, and why are we neglecting the well-being of the individuals who spend 90% of their time in these spaces? Believe me, I am the first person in a room to stand up for environmental sustainability initiatives, but I also think that we have an opportunity to shape our indoor spaces to benefit both humans and the environment.

As I dug deeper into WELL, I was blown away by the science behind the standard. Just like LEED, the features and guidelines in the WELL Building Standard are evidence-based. By becoming a LEED professional, you chose to act upon the research and encourage others to engage with it. I urge you to do the same for WELL and join me and other LEED professionals in the second wave of sustainability! By working together as WELL APs and LEED APs, we can further encourage sustainable development practices and create a more sustainable, healthy and productive global community.

Concerned about the overlap between LEED and WELL?

Crosswalks are a great tool to identify where WELL requirements are aligned with other green building standards. Learn more about WELL and LEED, Green Star and BREEAM crosswalks here.

Interested in hearing from my peers? Check out these thoughts from LEED or WELL accredited professionals:

“In my previous career as a sustainability consultant, it was key to demonstrate that you were consistently at the forefront of sustainability. Now that the sustainability industry has embraced “human sustainability / health & well-being”, the WELL AP accreditation was one of the most simple and straight-forward ways to demonstrate expertise in this new vein of the industry.


“Becoming a WELL AP has helped me understand how our physical environment impacts health and wellness, and enables me to strategize toward smarter, healthier decisions – both professionally and personally. It also connects me to an interdisciplinary community of building, environmental and health professionals."


“Throughout my career, I’ve been solving different research and practical problems related to HVAC systems, air quality and thermal comfort in buildings. Preparing for the WELL AP exam has helped me better comprehend numerous intersections between the built environment and human sustainability. This knowledge is tremendously important, because buildings should be primarily designed and operated to benefit human health and well-being.”

LEED Green Associate/ Future WELL AP


Need an elevator pitch? Here are my top 5 reasons to go WELL:

  1. The WELL AP credential will put you at the forefront of the sustainable development industry.

  2. You will join an interdisciplinary network of professionals.

  3. It is possible to work on projects that simultaneously achieve WELL and other green building standard certifications.

  4. The WELL Building Standard is scientifically accredited and third-party verified.

  5. You will contribute to the health and well-being of others and elevating your role to become a public health advocate.


To learn more about about how to pursue the WELL AP credential and network with our community of healthy building advocates, meet us at Greenbuild in Boston next month!

A LEED Green Associate, Monica Davis serves on the Education team at the International WELL Building Institute. Prior to joining IWBI, Monica completed her PhD in Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studied insect biology and population genetics along the urban to rural gradient