WELL Tip: Navigating preconditions for the Nourishment concept

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WELL Tip: Navigating preconditions for the Nourishment concept

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
/ By:
Tori Shepherd

WELL Tips
WELL v1
Mirvac’s headquarters in Australia promotes healthy food with high nutritional value and clear labeling

Have you ever considered a WELL precondition and wondered where to begin? Not to fret! We’ve launched a Navigating preconditions series to help project teams get started incorporating a number of preconditions from different WELL concepts into their project’s design and policies.

What are the building blocks of the Nourishment concept?

The Nourishment features require the availability of fresh, wholesome foods, limit unhealthy ingredients and encourage better eating habits and food culture. A few of the key terms include diabetes, food additives, macronutrients, metabolic syndrome, partially hydrogenated oil and saturated fats.

Project teams looking to refresh their knowledge of topics referenced throughout the Nourishment concept are encouraged to 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 Nourishment features:

  • (Commercial kitchen) designer

  • Food and/or beverage vendors

  • Human resources representative

  • Office manager

  • Project owner

  • Workplace wellness or benefits staff

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 Nourishment WELLography on the Build WELL App.

  2. Read feature requirements and associated verification methods.

  3. Determine stakeholders.

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

  5. Explore equivalent standards, codes or practices that may be more applicable to your project type and location.

  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 you are also 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 Articles Library, such as WELL Story: Nourishment at Structure Tone.

  9. Consult Standard Citations for additional information. Find them by expanding the tab at the bottom of each feature on the Digital Standard.

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

 


Nourishment Preconditions

Many of the Nourishment features address food and/or beverages that are sold or provided on a daily basis on the premises by (or under contract with) the project owner. The following strategies, questions and resources can be referenced when approaching all of the below preconditions.

It is important to note that projects that do not provide food and beverages on a daily basis are exempt from most Nourishment preconditions. However, Feature 41 and Feature 45 are often still applicable.

Strategies to Consider

  • If no food and beverage contract is in place, incorporate Nourishment requirements into the RFP for food and beverage vendors.

  • If an existing food and beverage contract is in place, evaluate product labeling against WELL requirements. Request that the provider label foods and beverages per WELL requirements or select alternative (fully labeled) products if necessary.

  • Conduct analysis of the food being provided to confirm nutritional information. (See Relevant Resources below for helpful tools to complete this evaluation.)

  • Consider providing occupants with nutritious food offerings that are complimentary or discounted in order to encourage healthy behavior.

Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • Where are food and/or drinks provided on a daily basis (including packaged and prepared items, as well as those in vending machines, coffee bars or pantries)?

  • Can non-compliant offerings be removed from the daily menu and instead provided on special occasions?

  • Are on-site food shops/restaurants/stores open to the public or contracted solely for the benefit of the building occupants and their visitors?

  • For Core and Shell projects, is food sold/distributed by the developer or by tenants (who do not fall under the scope of Nourishment features)?

Relevant Resources

Helpful tools that convert ingredients/recipes to nutrition labels for free or at low-cost:


FEATURE 39: PROCESSED FOODS

Intent

To help occupants avoid highly processed ingredients and foods.

Additional Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, the strategies below may be helpful to evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 39:

  • To comply with the sugar limitations, which are based on grams of sugar per serving (foods) or container (beverages), consider providing smaller sizes of products, such as snack sizes of candy or 8-ounce rather than 16-ounce soda cans.

  • Offer more fruits. While sugar restrictions apply to natural sugars, most fresh fruits contain fewer than 30g of sugar per serving. (This will also help you achieve Feature 38 Fruits and Vegetables.)

  • If you have vending machines, consider dried fruit and vegetable options, such as no-sugar-added banana, apple, beet or kale chips or crisps.

  • Whenever a food offering includes a refined grain as the primary ingredient, consider matching that item with a similar product made primarily from whole grains. For example, offer a whole wheat sandwich in addition to a sandwich made with white bread.  Examples of whole grain ingredients include brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, graham flour, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, whole grain barley, whole grain corn, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat and wild rice.

  • For projects that have an existing food and beverage contract in place and are not able to comply with the requirements of Part 1 or Part 2, consult the published AAP.

Additional Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • Can food be served in smaller portions to meet feature requirements?

  • Does my cafeteria or food vendor already provide compliant food options?

  • Does my current food vendor offer fruit and vegetable delivery?

Relevant Resources


FEATURE 40: FOOD ALLERGIES

Intent

To help occupants avoid consumption of or contact with potential food allergens.

Additional Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, the strategies below may be helpful to evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 40:

  • Consider adding allergy labels to menus, signage or electronic media such as websites.

  • Color-coded stickers or symbols can be added to packages to indicate specific ingredients.

Additional Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • What type(s) of signage does our project use to display the foods and beverages available?

  • Which of my employees/occupants have food allergies or special dietary restrictions? Can the project also accommodate these individuals by pursuing Feature 48 Special Diets?

  • For projects outside of the US, is there a more relevant labeling system listed in the equivalencies? Are there cultural norms that need to be considered by submitting a new AAP?

Relevant Resources


FEATURE 43: ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS

Intent

To help occupants avoid artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives in food.

Additional Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, the strategies below may be helpful to evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 43:

  • Consider adding ingredient labels or color-coded stickers to menus, signage, packages or electronic media, such as websites.

  • Increase offerings of fresh, whole foods offered on site to limit the need for artificial ingredient labeling as most highly processed and packaged foods contain artificial ingredients.

Additional Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • Does the food we provide already comply with feature requirements?

  • For projects outside of the US, is there a more relevant labeling system listed in the equivalencies? Are there cultural norms that need to be considered by submitting a new AAP?

Relevant Resources


FEATURE 44: NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Intent

To help occupants make informed food consumption choices.

Additional Strategies to Consider

While not mandatory, the strategies below may be helpful to evaluate when developing your own project-specific approach to meeting Feature 44:

  • Projects that prepare food on site with raw ingredients may consider using point-of-decision prompts in lieu of labeling, as described in the published AAP.

  • Consider adding ingredient labels or color-coded stickers to menus, signage, packages or electronic media, such as websites.

  • Raw (fresh) fruits and vegetables, coffee, tea and milk are exempt from nutritional labeling.

Additional Questions to Drive the Conversation

  • Does the food we provide already comply with feature requirements?

  • Does our food services vendor calculate total calories, macronutrient content and sugar content for all foods prepared on site?

  • For projects outside of the US, is there a more relevant labeling system listed in the equivalencies? Are there cultural norms that need to be considered by submitting a new AAP?

Relevant Resources






 

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.