WELL Tip: Insight on successful innovations

WELL Tip: Insight on successful innovations

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
/ By:
Tori Shepherd

WELL Innovations concept

Innovation features promote the continuous evolution of the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™) by encouraging projects to go above and beyond existing WELL feature requirements or to propose a new intervention that addresses health and well-being in a novel way. Read on to learn more about WELL's criteria for innovation proposals and to explore examples from some of our most inventive project teams.

Pre-approved Innovation features

IWBI has published various innovation proposals that have been determined to be widely applicable. Therefore, any project can pursue these pre-approved Innovation features to earn points under WELL v1 or the WELL v2™ Pilot. In WELL v1, pre-approved Innovation features are posted as AAPs for Innovation features. In WELL v2, approved strategies are represented in Features I02-I05.

Include a WELL AP on your project team

Both v1 and v2 projects can achieve one Innovation feature by engaging a WELL AP as a member of the project team. The WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) credential denotes expertise in WELL and a commitment to advancing human health and wellness in buildings and communities. The presence of a WELL AP on a project team can benefit project planning and achievement efforts by streamlining the WELL application and certification process. To meet this pre-approved innovation, simply submit the WELL AP Certificate with your documentation submission.

Team members interested in becoming a WELL AP should be notified if IWBI’s WELL AP exam prep bundle package (for individuals or larger groups) and WELL AP practice tests.

Offer tours of your WELL Certified project

Both v1 and v2 projects can earn one Innovation feature by providing free tours of their WELL Certified space. Projects must include a WELL educational component in conjunction with the tours. This can be permanent signage throughout the space describing different WELL features (check out our Welcome to WELL Toolkit!), a case study surrounding WELL Certification, a newsletter or other printed/online publication following the occupants' engagement with WELL or an approved alternative. Tours may be offered on a pre-determined schedule or upon request through the IWBI Event Request Form.

In order to receive Innovation approval for an active tour program, projects must provide IWBI with the tour script and tour destination descriptions (including at least one destination per WELL concept) as part of their documentation. On an annual basis, projects must also submit the following documentation to IWBI: dates of tours (minimum of six per year), number of attendees (minimum of 50 per year) and evidence of how the project is broadcasting the availability of these tours (i.e., social media, project website.)

Interested in taking a tour of a WELL Certified space? You may wish to reach out to the following projects or to submit a request through our IWBI Speaker + Event Request form to tour a project with a WELL Faculty member:

1. JLL Office at HKRI Taikoo Hui in Shanghai, China

JLL’s WELL Certified Platinum office is able to accommodate at least 5 tours each day, as they have received great interest from their clients and the general public since achieving WELL Certification.

JLL Shanghai, WELL Certified Platinum


2. Mirvac Headquarters in Sydney, Australia

Mirvac’s WELL Certified Gold office not only offers scheduled tours of their, but also facilitates self-guided tours through an interactive mobile application.

Mirvac Headquarters, WELL Certified Gold


3. Delos Headquarters in New York City, United States

One of the major goals of Delos’ Headquarters office was to be a showcase of health and wellbeing office design. Therefore, Delos encourages community engagement by offering in-person tours and virtual tours. Visit the Delos website for more information.

Delos Headquarters, WELL Certified Platinum


4. Castellana 81, in Madrid, Spain

GMP’s WELL Core & Shell commercial office building offers in-person and virtual tours, which highlight the health strategies incorporated throughout the base building. More information can be found on their website.

Castellana 81, WELL Certified Gold


5. TD23 in Toronto, Canada

TD’s WELL Certified Gold office space is located in the Cadillac Fairview’s Core & Shell Certified TD Center. Request a tour of the space to learn more about the benefits of pursuing WELL for an interior project within a WELL Core & Shell building.

TD23, WELL Certified Gold


6. Arup Fit-Out, One Albert Quay in Cork, Ireland

Arup’s WELL Certified Gold office space demonstrates the impact of pursuing WELL through an interior fit-out.

Arup Fit-Out, One Albert Quay, WELL Certified Gold


Complete other health and wellness programs

IWBI awards an Innovation point through WELL v2 I04: Gateways to Wellness to projects that participate in wellness programs that act as gateways to deeper commitments. A list of health and wellness programs and initiatives that have been evaluated by IWBI and found to meet the above criteria can be found at https://v2.wellcertified.com/resources/preapproved-programs.

Achieve dual Certification by completing another green building rating system alongside WELL

WELL aligns with leading green building rating systems and recognizes projects that balance a commitment to environmental sustainability with a commitment to human health. Policies that reduce the environmental impact of buildings contribute to the advancement of human health at the building and community scale. The environment itself can act as a mechanism to promote and reinforce health by providing fresh air, clean water, affordable and accessible food and green spaces for physical activity and social connection. Therefore, projects can earn points under WELL v2 I05: Green Building Rating Systems.

Utilize the WELL skybridge tool

Table 2 of the WELL skybridge tool includes a list of WELL v2 features and/or parts that WELL v1 projects can use as innovations. Projects will achieve one WELL v1 Innovation feature for meeting the WELL v2 features and/or parts indicated in the table. Any project registered for WELL v1 can use this table.


Submitting new Innovation proposals

Projects can submit an Innovation proposal to receive credit for WELL v1 Features 101-105 or WELL v2 Feature I01: Innovate WELL. To be considered for approval, projects should demonstrate that the proposed strategy is supported by scientific, medical and industry research. These inspired solutions contribute to the healthy building movement and often become paramount to the project’s identity, as demonstrated by some of the inspirational examples below.

Diversity and inclusion programs

Programs designed to celebrate and promote diversity and inclusiveness are integral to developing a sustainable culture and facilitating social wellbeing. As demonstrated by CBRE’s Sydney office (New South Wales, Australia), these programs should consist of mindful design and policy components that promote diversity and inclusion in a holistic manner both locally (and internationally, where applicable).

Dynamic circadian lighting

Delos Headquarters office (New York, New York, USA) achieved an Innovation feature by designing an electric lighting system that goes above and beyond the requirements for Feature 54: Circadian Lighting. In every room of the project, full spectrum lights are designed to mimic the natural color and light intensity of natural daylight 24 hours a day. However, each conference and breakout room also includes a user-friendly keypad for occupants to choose from a variety of “scenes” which customize the lighting according to their task, preference or comfort. The project also tests the effectiveness of lighting for communication, such as indicating when free, healthy lunch is available in the company cafe.

Full spectrum lighting at Delos Headquarters, WELL Certified Platinum, mimics natural daylight.


Financial wellness programs

Projects can substantially benefit mental health by providing occupants with financial planning tools to build resilience to financial stressors. NYU Langone Health’s corporate space (New York, NY, USA), for instance, plans to link occupants to educational programs related to financial planning, college savings, credit unions and emergency loans.

Gamification of wellness

Projects such as American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) National Headquarters (Washington, D.C., USA) have encouraged healthy behaviors through health challenges and/or rewards programs. Utilizing game principles such as competition and triumph can motivate occupants to practice healthier habits, such as increased water consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity or meditation.

Healthy materials library

ASID National Headquarters (Washington, D.C., USA) set an example within the interior design industry at large by developing a “Material ConneXion Library,” which showcases more than 300 healthy materials. This public-facing library not only lists healthy materials online, but provides an immersive educational experience for any visitors, clients or fellow designers who are able to walk through the rotating display of healthy design materials.

Material ConneXion Library at ASID Headquarters, WELL Certified Platinum

Ongoing indoor environment quality Testing (IEQ)

In order to ensure that the space continues to operate according to WELL requirements, projects such as Cbus Property’s Core & Shell commercial tower, 720 Bourke Street, have committed to annually test the indoor environmental quality according to WELL performance criteria. Holistic testing should involve all WELL concepts (where applicable) and may include visual inspections in addition to performance testing. Projects may also consider utilizing performance metrics to inform post-occupancy surveys and data analysis.

A glimpse of the interiors at 720 Bourke Street, a 16-floor WELL Certified Gold tower.


Promote biodiversity

The Crown Estate Headquarters, St James Market (London, UK) earned an innovation feature by developing an ecology masterplan to improve biodiversity not only within their project, but also throughout the extended community. The project will conduct a habitat survey every two years to establish an ecological baseline, which will inform strategic landscape design and any necessary maintenance actions. Additionally, the Crown Estate plans to work with key stakeholders and additional Central London landowners to maximize the scale of this initiative throughout the West End. This network of green spaces will benefit local air quality, enhance access to nature and create a more attractive, thriving community.

Reducing Heat Island Effect

The Heat Island Effect (HIE) refers to the increased temperatures experienced in metropolitan areas in comparison to the surrounding rural areas as a result of human activity and dense city living. This phenomenon compromises human and environmental health in many ways, such as increased energy consumption, elevated emissions of greenhouse gases, higher levels of air pollutants and degraded water quality.  

Quintessential Equity Property’s 1 Malop Street (Geelong, Victoria, Australia), a WELL Core & Shell office development, achieved an Innovation credit by incorporating design strategies that reduce the Heat Island Effect onsite, such as rooftop landscaping and surface materials that are lighter in color. This not only benefits building occupants, but also contributes to greater community and environmental health.

1 Malop Street, WELL Certified Gold 

Support and engage with the local community

Lendlease’s Barangaroo South Office (New South Wales, Australia) created a Gymea Procurement Program to provide long-term support for small to medium Indigenous businesses. This supports the local community and promotes a business culture of equality, wellness and respect.

RDC - Studio 111 Headquarters (Long Beach, California, USA) welcomed a local non-profit to occupy a portion of their office for the cost of $1 per year. This space donation supports the non-profit work throughout the community and increases occupant engagement with the needs of the community.

RDC - Studio 111 Headquarters , WELL Certified Gold

Workplace wellness committees

Office projects, such as Delos Headquarters (New York, New York, USA), have found success in developing programs to support occupant engagement with the healthy design and policies facilitated by WELL Certification. Often, this involves identifying employees to serve as champions of wellness, lead routine meetings, monitor widespread engagement with wellness programming and brainstorm methods of improving access to health and wellness resources.


Get involved!

As demonstrated by the creative design and policy strategies above, Innovation features encourage project teams to serve as industry leaders in healthy building. As more projects achieve WELL Certification, these innovative strategies have grown our understanding and contributed to the body of evidence surrounding the impact of the built environment on human health and wellness.

Hopefully the examples above inspire you and your project team to think outside the box in brainstorming the health and wellness strategies within your WELL project!

For more information on Innovation Proposals, your project may wish to speak to your WELL coaching contact or read our previous article, Innovation features: How to shape a proposal—and the future of the healthy building movement.

Tori serves on the Market Solutions team at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). As a WELL Faculty member and LEED Green Associate, Tori utilizes her expertise in environmental sustainability and human health as she provides technical assistance and customer support to project teams and industry professionals.