WELL Tip: Navigating preconditions for the Mind concept

WELL Tip: Navigating preconditions for the Mind concept

Friday, June 15, 2018
/ By:
Madeleine Evans

ASID’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C., a WELL Platinum Certified office, uses spatial layout, live plants, light and patterns to create biophilic design throughout the entire 8,500 square feet.

Have you ever approached the WELL Mind concept and wondered where to begin? Not to fret - we’ve launched a Navigating preconditions series to help project teams get started incorporating preconditions from the WELL Mind concept into their project’s design and policies.

What are the building blocks of the Mind concept?

The Mind concept focuses on the connection between the human mind and body, and how to optimize cognitive and emotional health through design, technology and treatment strategies. Key terms include serotonin, chronic disease, hormones, metabolic syndrome, sleep hygiene and biophilia.

Project teams looking to refresh their knowledge of subjects referenced throughout the Mind concept can consult the Glossary for more information.

Who are the relevant stakeholders?

Depending on project scope, it may be helpful to consider engaging the following team members when implementing the Mind features:

  • Architect

  • Human Resources

  • Project Owner

How should you approach a feature?


  1. Understand the feature intent and background. Here you can learn how requirements aim to address particular challenges associated with human health and well-being. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Mind WELLography on the Build WELL App.

  2. Read feature requirements and verification methods.

  3. Determine stakeholders.

  4. Consult the FAQs: your question may already have been answered!

  5. Explore equivalent standards, codes or practices that may be more applicable to your locality.

  6. Explore published alternative adherence paths (AAPs). If all other options are exhausted, the project may develop and submit a new AAP which meets the feature intent in a method dissimilar from feature requirements.

  7. If pursuing another certification program, consult the BREEAM, Green Star, LEED or Living Building Challenge Crosswalks for guidance on dual certification overlaps and efficiencies, such as features that align to provide partial equivalence or full compliance.

  8. Seek inspiration from IWBI’s Article Library, such as WELL Story: Mind at CBRE Madrid.

  9. Consult Standard Citations for additional information. You can find these insightful resources by expanding the tab at the bottom of each feature on the Digital Standard.

  10. If questions remain after consulting these resources, reach out to your WELL Coaching Contact for guidance and technical support.


FEATURE 84: Health and Wellness Awareness


To promote a deeper understanding of factors that impact health and wellness.

Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, below are a few strategies that you can evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 84:

  • Use your project checklist as the starting point to draft your WELL Building Standard Guide.

  • Evaluate the project’s design to determine if a physical health and wellness library is feasible, or if a digital library is more practical.

  • Select health and wellness-related books and/or magazine subscriptions that are catered toward the specific nature of the project (ex: primary occupants, project location, company mission, etc.).

Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • How can we present the WELL features that the project pursued in an easily understood and engaging way?

  • Can my project space accomodate a physical health and wellness library or is there a digital intranet, company website, etc. accessible to all employees, which can house these resources?

  • What books or magazines will appeal to occupants and address their health concerns or needs?


FEATURE 85: Integrative Design


To facilitate a collaborative development process and ensure adherence to collective wellness goals. 

Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, below are a few strategies that you can evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 85:

  • Ensure that all relevant stakeholders are present at the WELL Charrette.

  • Discuss how the certification process will work with all stakeholders and educate them on their individual roles and responsibilities.

  • Identify the core reasons why the project decided to pursue WELL Certification and any project-specific wellness goals.

  • Plan how WELL will be implemented in advance of the project’s completion.

Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • Who are the relevant stakeholders that need to be included in the WELL Charrette?

  • What are our broader wellness goals that we are trying to achieve through WELL Certification?

  • What is our project’s health-oriented mission? Why is WELL important to us?

  • Is our building operations team informed about WELL? Do they understand how building operations will support the adherence to WELL requirements?


FEATURE 88: Biophilia I - Qualitative


To nurture the innate human-nature connection within the project.

Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, below are a few strategies that you can evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 88:

  • In addition to live plants, biophilic design can be achieved through lighting, layout, shapes, colors, and patterns that support a visual connection to nature.

  • Indirect, representational or pictorial methods can be included to support occupant exposure to nature, such as providing access to scenic window views, photographs or paintings of nature.

  • When selecting where to infuse natural elements into the project, be sure to evenly distribute them throughout regularly occupied spaces so that all occupants have an equal opportunity to benefit from biophilic design. Some spaces to consider are common circulation routes, shared seating areas/rooms and workstations.

Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • What environmental elements fit best with our design goals for the project?

  • What specific colors, patterns, lighting and areas of the project’s layout elicit thoughts of nature?

  • Is biophilic design found equally throughout the project’s regularly occupied spaces? Are biophilic elements located in central spaces where occupants spend a lot of time?

  • Where, within the project boundary, do occupants have the opportunity to interact with nature?

Relevant Resources

Madeleine Evans is on the Market Solutions team at IWBI, drawing upon her deep understanding of the built environment’s impact on human health and sustainability to help guide project teams through the WELL Certification process. Passionate about social justice and committed to expanding IWBI’s community impact, Madeleine spearheads IWBI’s corporate volunteer initiative and spends her free time with New York Cares teaching New York City children to read.