WELL Tip: Understanding the comparison between WELL v1 and WELL v2 pilot

WELL Tip: Understanding the comparison between WELL v1 and WELL v2 pilot

Thursday, May 31, 2018

WELL Certification

Are you working on a WELL v1 project and wondering how your team can best utilize the new version of WELL? Are you eager to register your project, but would like to first understand the feature comparison between WELL v1 and the WELL Building Standard version 2 pilot: (WELL v2)?  

We have launched a new comparison tool to help you explore the changes between v1 and v2. To help you evaluate both versions further and determine key similarities and differences, our team has compared WELL v1 and WELL v2 in four core areas:

  • Concepts – General overview of changes in each concept
  • Rules – Insights on how some of the procedural changes in v2 could impact a project
  • Registration – Thoughts on elements of v2 that could be important to consider when selecting which version better supports the project’s goals
  • Features – Guidance on the mapping tool and other useful resources during your review




How do the concepts compare between WELL v1 and WELL v2?

The WELL Building Standard version 2 pilot: (WELL v2) has expanded upon the foundation created by WELL v1. WELL v2 is comprised of 112 features within 10 concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community.

The image above gives a quick overview of the total number of features for each of the 10 concepts, and you can learn more about specific features using our downloadable comparison tool



Air is the concept that contained the most features in WELL v1. The creation of new concepts in v2, Thermal Comfort and Materials, allowed the remaining Air features to focus more on holistic design strategies to promote clean air and minimize human exposure to harmful contaminants.

 Air  v1  v2
 Preconditions  12    4    
 Optimizations  17  10


  • Preconditions that are retained in v2 relate to Air Quality Requirements (A01), Smoke-Free Environment (A02), Ventilation Effectiveness (A03) and Construction Pollution Management (A04). Feature 04 is an optimization in v2 with multiple compliance options!

  • A new precondition requirement introduced in v2 is to monitor fundamental air parameters (A01).

  • Features in v1 (Features 04, 09, 10, 11, 25 and 26) that focus on materials requirements have been moved to the Materials concept in v2.

  • A portion of Feature 16 - Humidity Control has moved from Air to Thermal Comfort T07.

  • Portions of Feature 12 - Moisture Management have moved to Water concept - W07



Water is one of the concepts that saw the fewest changes in v2. There have been some consolidations and new requirement additions that help make this concept more robust.

 Water  v1  v2
 Preconditions  5      3    
 Optimizations  3  5


  • The precondition requirements in v1 are still preconditions in WELL v2, but are merged into two features (W01 and W02).

  • Similar to the monitoring requirement in the Air concept, Water also has a new requirement to monitor Fundamental Water Properties (W01).

  • New precondition requirements in v2 are thresholds for Cadmium and Chromium (W02).

  • Legionella Control (Feature 36) from v1 has been updated to a precondition and a separate feature (W03) in v2.

  • v2 also changes the specific threshold requirements for a number of water contaminants: Styrene, Benzene, Toluene, Atrazine and Chlorine.



Nourishment saw a large reduction in the number of preconditions required, providing more flexibility for various types of food service to implement WELL.

 Nourishment  v1  v2
 Preconditions  7      2    
 Optimizations  7  11


  • Portions of v1 precondition Features 38, 40, and 44 that have been retained in v2 relate to availability of Fruits and Vegetables (N01) and Nutritional Transparency (N02.)

  • Precondition Feature 39- Processed Foods, Feature 43- Artificial Ingredients, and Feature 45 - Food Advertising have become optimization features in v2.

  • Feature 41 - Hand Washing, which is a precondition in v1, has been moved to the Water concept as an optimization in v2 (W08.)

  • Features 42, 46, 50, P1 and P7 have been eliminated in v2.

  • Additional guidance is provided in v2 for those providing daily snacks and beverages, meals and dining, or no food program.



Light has seen refinements focusing on providing a lighting environment that reduces circadian phase disruption, improves sleep quality and positively impacts mood and productivity. While circadian lighting is no longer a precondition in its v1 form, there is still an emphasis on indoor access to circadian-effective light, either from daylight or electric sources.

 Light  v1  v2
 Preconditions  4      2    
 Optimizations  7  6


  • Precondition features in v2 relate to visual lighting design and fundamental light exposure. (Feature 54 Circadian Lighting Design is now an optimization in v2.).

  • A new requirement as part of L01 - Light Exposure and Education precondition in v2 is to promote lighting education for all projects. We hope this strategy will serve as an important step to educate building occupants on circadian rhythm, sleep hygiene, age-related increase in light requirements and the importance of daylight exposure on circadian and mental health.

  • Other new requirements added as optimizations in the Light concept relate to electric light flicker management (L07) and enhanced occupant controllability of ambient lighting systems (L08).

  • Features in v1 that are removed in v2 relate to Low-Glare Workstation Design (Feature 57), Surface Design (Feature 59), Daylight Fenestration (Feature 63), Light at Night (Feature P2) and Circadian Emulation (Feature P3).



The Fitness concept title has been retired in v2, and replaced with Movement. Movement incorporates features from v1’s Fitness concept along with some ergonomic requirements that were previously in the v1 Comfort concept.

 Movement  v1  v2
 Preconditions  2       2    
 Optimizations  6  10


  • A noteworthy update in v2 is the new precondition, V01 - Active Buildings and Communities. This precondition can be met by achieving one point from a select list of features in the movement concept (V03, V04, V05, V07, V09). This unique feature structure was established to allow project teams flexibility when selecting what type of strategy promoting movement, physical activity, and/or active living best fits the project’s goals.

  • Feature 73 - Ergonomics: Visual and Physical was found in the Comfort concept in v1, and has now been moved as the other precondition V02 - Visual and Physical Ergonomics in the Movement concept in v2. The feature now also requires an educational component to increase occupant awareness about ergonomic comfort and workplace safety.

  • New features in the Movement concept relate to Site Planning and Selection (V05) and Enhanced Ergonomics (V10).


Thermal Comfort

Thermal Comfort is now a separate concept in v2, while in v1 the thermal comfort requirements are in the Comfort concept.

 Thermal Comfort  v1  v2
 Preconditions  n/a       1    
 Optimization  n/a  6        


  • The precondition T01 - Thermal Performance in v2 is similar to v1 Feature 76 - Thermal Comfort. However, in v2, this new feature has additional compliance options and clarifies what design specifications should be submitted for documentation review.

  • An added requirement of T01 is to conduct ongoing monitoring of dry-bulb temperature, relative humidity, air speed (for projects using the elevated air speed method) and mean radiant temperature.

  • Portion of Feature 16 - Humidity Control and Feature 20 - Outdoor Air Systems both in the air concept in v1 have been moved to the Thermal Comfort concept in v2.

  • A new optimization feature T02 - Enhanced Thermal Performance has been introduced in v2.



Similar to the Thermal Comfort concept, Sound is also a separate concept in v2, while in v1 the acoustic requirements are in the Comfort concept. The Sound concept requirements in v2 has seen refinements while maintaining the v1 feature intents.

 Sound  v1  v2
 Preconditions  n/a       1    
 Optimization  n/a  4        


  • The precondition S01 - Sound Mapping in v2 focuses on strategic planning and mitigating acoustical disturbance from both externally and internally generated noise.

  • The performance-based features for maximum noise levels in v1 (Feature 74 and 75) have been merged into one optimization in v2 (S02). S02 addresses externally and internally generated noise as background noise and requires that projects meet particular noise level thresholds.



Materials is a separate concept in v2; while in v1, the materials requirements are included within particular Air and Mind features.

 Materials  v1  v2
 Preconditions  n/a       3    
 Optimization  n/a  11       


  • Preconditions in v2 focus on asbestos, lead, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) restriction and abatement (X01, X02), which all fell under Feature 11 in the Air concept in v1.

  • A new precondition requirement has been introduced in v2 (X03) which states that projects must mitigate environmental contamination that results from treated outdoor structures and wood-plastic materials.

  • Feature 04 - VOC Reduction, a precondition in v1, has now been moved to the Materials concept as two optimization features (X11, X12) and includes multiple compliance options.

  • Other new features added as optimizations in v2 in the materials concept are:

    • Waste Management (X04)

    • In-Place Management (X05)

    • Site Remediation (X06)



Mind is more narrowly focused on design, policy and programmatic strategies that support cognitive and emotional health in v2, where in v1 it also contained many components of social well-being that are now contained in the Community concept.

 Mind  v1  v2
 Preconditions  5       2    
 Optimization  12  13   


  • The preconditions relate to mental health promotion (M01) and support occupant well-being by incorporating the natural environment through interior and exterior design (M02).

  • New requirements introduced as optimizations in v2 are:

    • Mental Health Support and Education (M03, M04)

    • Restorative Spaces, Support and Programs (M06, M07, M08)

    • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (M13)

    • Substance Use Education and Opioid Emergency Response Plan (M14, M15)



Community is a new concept in v2 that covers requirements for equity and social cohesion. Some features in v2’s community concept are pulled from the Mind concept in v1, however, the majority of the features in the community concept are new. Community has the most features of any concept in v2.

 Community  v1  v2
 Preconditions  n/a      3    
 Optimization  n/a  13   


  • Features 84, 85 and 86 in the mind concept in v1 are now preconditions in the v2 Community concept.

  • Other new optimizations added in v2 are:

    • Enhanced Occupant Survey (C04)

    • New Mother Support (C09)

    • Bathroom Accommodations (C14)

    • Emergency preparedness (C15)

    • Community Access and Engagement (C16)



Innovation features pave way for projects to develop unique strategies for creating healthy environment. Innovations although are existing features in v1, have seen some new additions in v2.

  • Projects can pursue upto 10 innovation points (I01) when registered under v2.

  • WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) and Educate WELL are now listed as Innovation Features I02 and I03.

  • New Innovation features added in v2 are Gateways to Wellness (I04) and Green Building Rating Systems (I05).




How should I factor some of the rule changes of the WELL v2 pilot when doing my comparison?

Concept achievement:

  • In the v2 pilot, projects will need to achieve at least 2 points per concept with a maximum of 12 per concept. Some concepts that have over 20+ points available, so keep this in mind when deciding which ones best support your project’s goals. For WELL Core projects, the concept point maximum is the same, but the minimum requirement is 1 point per concept.

Feature achievement:

  • In the v2 pilot, some optimization features will have more points available than the maximum achievable for that feature. Projects can choose the feature part strategies best align with their project goals, but keep in mind the maximum.

Part achievement:

  • In the v2 pilot, projects need to achieve all parts of a precondition feature, but can elect to pursue optimization parts separately. In v1, projects need to achieve all parts of a feature for achievement.




How would I know if switching my registration to the v2 pilot is a good choice for my project?

  • In the v2 pilot, the universal set of preconditions can be achieved by all project types, regardless of whether they are new or existing spaces. This differs slightly from v1, where the preconditions included certain design or performance criteria that could be a challenge to achieve for existing projects not undergoing a renovation. If certain preconditions were a barrier for your project in v1, it may be useful to explore if the v2 pilot provides a more viable pathway.

  • In the v2 pilot, the pricing structure provides customers with more options. Depending on the project’s timeline, size, type or location, the pricing structure of v2 may be a benefit. However, consider the extra time and costs needed to adjust certain elements, update documentation, reorient stakeholders, etc.

  • In the v2 pilot, the certification levels are determined by the number of points a project can achieve. Meeting these thresholds requires the same level of rigor to achieve as v1, but the expansion of optimization features, the flexibility of selecting parts independently, and the innovation opportunities may provide inspiration to your project to achieve a higher level of certification.  

  • In the v2 pilot, technical tools and resources will be provided in an iterative way over time to provide support. It may require more effort to participate in a pilot with fewer resources than v1 and to stay abreast of changes and amendments before the pilot period ends.  




How do I compare my progress with WELL v1 to the WELL v2 pilot?

To support project teams with their comparison, IWBI has created  a tool for projects to see how the WELL v1 features map to WELL v2 features. Teams can also use this tool to estimate how many points their project could potentially achieve in WELL v2 based on the features they were targeting in WELL v1.

Project teams should note that the mapping tool is not intended for confirming how many points a project will achieve in WELL v2. The tool is also not intended to be used as an indication of “equivalency” between v1 and v2 features. IWBI will be providing a separate tool in the next month that will formalize equivalency between the two versions.

How do I use this mapping tool?

The mapping tool has pre-selected all WELL v1 preconditions because feature achievement is assumed to be met by all projects registered under WELL v1. Teams can then select the optimization features in WELL v1 that they intend to pursue, which then populates details on the corresponding WELL v2 feature part.

Projects should consult the requirements of both the v1 and v2 versions within the digital library to then estimate how many points they’d expect to achieve from the new v2 part.  The mapping tool contains a drop down menu of points to track this estimate, populating a combined scoring page.

New parts and features that are added in the v2 pilot are contained on a separate sheet for projects to review and determine if any of those could be achieved. Innovation features that are currently approved will be published in the v2 portal and may also be considered.

Are there any notes to help me understand what types of adjustments were made?

We’ve provided a short description of the types of changes that may have occurred for each feature that you should keep in mind when comparing the requirements of v1 and v2. In the tool, we have labeled the following:

  • Revised requirement when a WELL v1 feature part corresponds to a WELL v2 feature part; however, the requirements in WELL v2 have been modified. 
  • New requirement when the WELL v2 feature/feature part is not covered in WELL v1. 
  • Additional compliance options when additional pathways to meet part requirements have been added in WELL v2, alongside the existing v1 feature part requirements. 
  • No change when there is no change in requirements from WELL v1 feature part to the corresponding WELL v2 feature part. 

Where can I find this tool and any additional support?

The mapping tool is available for download here. Reviewing the Certification Guidebook and Performance Verification Guidebook can also be useful in understanding the new processes of v2. Our customer service team is ready and eager to support at info@wellcertified.com. And as always, for registered projects, your assigned WELL coaching contact is available to support if you have any additional questions about the v2 pilot.   

Download Comparison Tool