WELL v2

IWBI Launches WELL v2

(NEW YORK -- May 31, 2018) – Launched today worldwide and celebrated with fanfare in New York, Beijing, London and Sydney, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) unveiled the WELL v2 pilot, the next version of its pioneering WELL Building Standard, the first rating system to focus exclusively on the impacts of buildings on human health and wellness.

This second iteration includes a full suite of enhancements that advance IWBI’s global aim to build a healthier future for all. WELL v2 is informed by key lessons learned from the nearly 1,000 projects that are registered or certified in 34 countries across the world. Users can register for WELL v2 starting today.

“Since our launch in 2014, we’ve learned a lot from the thousands of WELL users, practitioners and researchers who have embraced WELL as a tool for making buildings mechanisms to deliver health and wellness benefits for all,” said IWBI Chief Product Officer Rachel Gutter. “WELL v2 is our effort to consolidate the latest knowledge, leading research, new technology and advanced building practice to extend the benefits of WELL buildings to more people in more places.” 

A truly global rating system, the intent behind WELL v2 is to empower project teams to pursue the interventions that matter most to their project and their community without sacrificing WELL’s comprehensive and evidence-based approach and commitment to performance verification.  Refinements and enhancements to the rating system include:

  • A new feature set with fewer preconditions and weighted optimizations.
  • A consolidation of multiple pilots into one WELL, and improvements to the “All Projects In” approach introduced last year.
  • New pathways to achieve intents, with a laser focus on feasibility for existing buildings and commercial interiors.
  • An optional early phase review for projects wishing to earn a WELL D&O designation that affirms and celebrates progress toward WELL Certification.
  • A new approach to performance verification allowing projects to contract local providers.
  • A commitment to equity through market- and sector-specific pricing, a focus on localization and the introduction of a dynamic scorecard.
  • A comprehensive and significant adjustment to pricing, including a new subscription option.

“The IWBI team has worked tirelessly to aggregate the expert contributions of our worldwide community of users, researchers and thought leaders whose hands-on engagement with     WELL v2 is evident throughout,” said IWBI CEO and Chairman Rick Fedrizzi. “The result is a rating system that’s simpler, clearer, focused on the aspects that have the greatest impact, and designed for improved return across every metric. I’m especially excited about the significant cost efficiencies that have been built in, which will help spur uptake and increase accessibility to WELL for more market sectors.”

 “With these changes, WELL v2 sharpens our ability to drive far-reaching change to buildings and communities in ways that help people thrive,” said Fedrizzi.  “We’re looking forward to the market’s feedback as we move through this pilot phase.”

For more information about WELL v2, visit us at https://v2.wellcertified.com.     

 

About IWBI

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is leading the global movement to transform our buildings and communities in ways that help people thrive.  The WELL v2 pilot is a recently launched version of its popular WELL Building Standard, which will continue to be offered to the market, and the WELL Community Standard pilot, a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities.  WELL is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings and communities, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness.  IWBI convenes and mobilizes the wellness community through management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and wellness everywhere.

                                                           

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WELL Quotes

North America

"At Structure Tone, we've made it our mission to put our clients first. From employee wellness and productivity to patient care, we've seen firsthand the benefits of human-centric spaces," said Rob Leon, Senior Vice President at Structure Tone. "That's why when it came time to redesign our own space, we knew from experience that WELL was the obvious choice, providing our employees with a space that promotes their health, wellness and productivity throughout the day."

"The well-being of our employees, customers, and communities have always been a priority at TD Bank. As early adopters of WELL in our retail and corporate spaces, in both the U.S. and Canada, we know there is immense value in designing and operating spaces that advance health and wellness. Regardless of location or building type, each of TD's WELL Certified spaces has had a positive impact on the people who use it. We are proud to be a part of the WELL movement, advancing health and environmental initiatives." - Jacquelynn Henke, Sustainability & Innovation Director, TD Bank

"Teknion has always advocated for continual improvement and we continue to challenge ourselves with better human performance and outcomes. A pioneer in healthy design practices with 5 projects currently enrolled in the WELL program, we've utilized WELL across all of our company goals - guiding our product design and development and helping us create better spaces for ourselves and the customers we serve." - Tracy Backus, Director of Sustainable Programs at Teknion

"We explored WELL certification at our own workplace because we wanted to create the healthiest possible environment for our studio to work and learn. The research- and outcome-based standards were an important tool for measuring the success of our wellness design goals.” – Rick Cook, Co-founder CookFox Architects

"The health and wellness of our employees is a priority for JLL.  By leading the industry as one of the first WELL certified spaces in New York for our new downtown office, we have demonstrated the value of investing in our people as well as learning from this experience to advise our clients on the best strategies to ensure their spaces lead to healthier and happier people.  We spend over 90% of our time indoors.  It is our responsibility to ensure the spaces we provide improve the quality of life of our employees and clients while also demonstrating energy and environmental leadership." - Dana Robbins Schneider, LEED Fellow, Managing Director, Energy and Sustainability Projects, JLL

 

Europe

Virginie Scaglia at HRO France, said: “WELL Certification provides an excellent platform to communicate our commitment to providing a healthy workplace and upholding the highest environmental standards in building design, construction and operations. As we began our journey, we knew we wanted SCENEO to be at the forefront of cutting-edge building science and technology. WELL Certification has helped us to gain a competitive edge in Paris’s real estate market, highlight our leadership in the sustainability movement, and, most importantly, improve the health and well-being of tenants and employees. WELL was a natural fit for us.”

“When we moved to our new workplace in central London, we were determined that the experience for our staff would be markedly different from before. We used WELL as part of a broader strategy to create an environment that promotes health, facilitates physical activity and increases collaboration. What emerged was an organisational transformation that has helped to improve employee satisfaction and productivity and deliver on our sustainability commitments. As a result, our Landsec workplace is the first commercial office in the world to achieve both WELL Certified Silver and BREEAM Outstanding, setting a global benchmark for healthy, sustainable office space,” said Ed Dixon, Sustainability Insights Director, Landsec.

Chris Hiatt, Landid director, said: “As the first building in the UK to achieve WELL Core & Shell Certification, The Porter Building sets a new bar for the design and development of offices. The workspace will positively impact business performance, through staff retention and attraction, well-being and productivity and will meet the aspirations of the very best talent. Wellness has become an increasingly important part of workplace strategies in recent years, reflecting a wider cultural shift towards greater healthier lifestyles. We expect that in five years’ time all new office buildings will be seeking WELL Certification, in the same way that new buildings today are expected to adhere to the highest sustainability standards. Well-being will simply become part of the language of office design and we are very proud to be playing a leading role in that transformation.”

"Here in the Nordics we have the purest outdoor air and nature combined with an active lifestyle. However, we have shut the door on them indoors where we spend 22 hours a day. As the first WELL Certified office in the Nordics, we at Green Building Partners want to lead the way in the Nordics and show that it's important to design indoor spaces that are not only environmentally and energy-friendly but also human-friendly. The strength of the WELL Building Standard is that it's holistic. The concepts helped us to design an office and ways to work that comprehensively improve our employees' well-being, creativity and productivity," said Konsta Tuokko, Senior Consultant at Green Building Partners. 

“CBRE is strongly committed to employees' health and wellbeing having a lot of benefits and policies that make our life easier. When we expanded in 2015 we decided to pursue WELL Certification and include all the requirements from the beginning of the project. Despite been located in a financial district with high pollution, we have succeeded by creating an oasis in the center of Madrid. Our offices are a privileged environment in which biophilic design is the workplace core key. The operating area seems like a forest with internal partitions simulating trees and the pitch area the cabin. As in nature, space has been designed without right lines and daylight overwhelms the entire space. Meeting rooms are very peculiar because each one of them is inspired by different Earth landscapes with the typical furniture of that corner of the world. The intent was to create a comfortable space with natural materials in order to feel at home; therefore, productivity has increased by 30%.” - Patricia Fuertes Doyagüez, Architect and WELL AP, CBRE Madrid

Asia

“WELL has been attracting projects across all sectors to pursue certification in China in the past three years," said Wuzhao Qiu, Head of Product Research and Development at Poly Real Estate Group. "Poly's commitment to building green for the sustainability of the planet and human health is perfectly aligned with WELL's human health-centric philosophy." Poly was one of China's early adopters of WELL with five projects totaling over 500,000 square feet in space pursuing WELL v1 Certification. Qiu said Poly is excited to evolve with WELL and commits more of its projects for WELL Certification under v2.

 

Australia

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO of Mirvac, said, "Mirvac’s sustainability strategy, This Changes Everything, sees us continually push the boundaries of how we design and construct buildings, ensuring we’re leaders in sustainable development. We are extremely proud to be at the forefront of WELL Certification in Australia and aspire to continue to set the benchmark for innovative, sustainable and healthy workplaces across the country. As a leading Australian property group, we can better support our customers’ goals to build healthy workplaces of the future.”

Lendlease Chief Executive, Property, Kylie Rampa said: "Better performing buildings, in environmental and social terms, deliver a number of direct economic benefits to investors and tenants, including more productive workplaces and precincts that generate greater value for all. Generating improvements to a city’s physical environment, its economic base, and the social and economic conditions of its residents is a critical goal for Lendlease and WELL helps us ensure we deliver on our promise. As a company, we’re strongly committed to developing next generation workplaces for our people, tenants and investors, where healthy outcomes create long-term value.”

What's new in WELL v2: Nourishment

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We know that our diets are a critical component of our overall health and well-being. The food and drink we consume on a daily basis helps sustain our busy lifestyles. That’s why the WELL Building Standard includes the Nourishment concept, with the goal of improving nutrition and driving healthier choices.

The importance of a healthy diet

Poor nutrition is a top contributor to the global burden of disease and a modifiable risk factor for numerous preventable chronic diseases. In fact, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) - the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study - lists poor diet as a factor in one in five deaths worldwide. Along with insufficient physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition contributes to obesity, a major health concern across the globe. The prevalence of obesity has nearly tripled since the 1970s with about 13% of the world’s adult population obese and 39% overweight in 2016.

Though many theories and models exist, a growing body of evidence supports the role of our environments in influencing health and individual health behaviors. When it comes to nutrition, many studies focus on the physical environment while fewer examine the social or cultural environmental impacts on food choices, such as portion sizes or food advertising. Within this research, much of the focus is on increasing fruit and vegetable intake through environmental modification or policy change. Despite global differences in food preferences and dietary patterns, dietary guidelines around the world provide similar recommendations for a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains at the foundation of all guidelines.

The local food environment

It’s no surprise that the spaces where we spend the majority of our day are also the spaces where we consume most of our meals and make the majority of our food choices. While this can equate to more opportunities for healthy food choices, the unfortunate reality is that meals consumed away from the home are often higher in calories, lower in nutrients and larger in portion size. Knowing that a variety of environmental conditions can influence our food choices and dietary patterns, including the availability, accessibility and affordability of foods and beverages in our local food environment, it’s up to us to design spaces that make the healthiest choice the easiest choice.  

The local food environment encompasses our immediate, local surroundings (internal environment) as well as the surrounding neighborhood or community (external environment) and includes the availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and accommodation of food access within these settings. In the spaces where we work, live or learn, the availability of fruits and vegetables, drinking water, eating spaces and food storage influences our daily food choices and dietary habits. In our surrounding communities, increasing evidence suggests that the type and location of food stores, as well as the availability and affordability of products in them, plays a role in our food consumption and dietary habits.

The connection between our nutritional health and environment is multifaceted and in the  WELL™ v2 Nourishment concept you’ll find that we’ve taken a multipronged approach in addressing the many factors that contribute to a very complex and personal topic: food.

Nourishment in WELL v2

Recognizing that food is both personal and political, the global and cultural differences in dietary habits and eating patterns, as well the unique needs of individuals and certain populations, the Nourishment concept offers more flexibility and customization than ever before. The goal of the Nourishment concept is not to limit food choices (a comment strongly voiced by users of WELL v1) but to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice through intentional modifications and invisible nudges.

To offer more flexibility and personalization, the number of Nourishment preconditions has been reduced from eight to two. Fruits and vegetables remain of central importance in WELL v2 and one of the two preconditions in the Nourishment concept (N01 Fruits and Vegetables). Insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption remains a problem worldwide with 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of ischemic heart disease deaths and 9% of stroke deaths attributable to insufficient fruit and vegetable intake. Thus, increasing the availability and accessibility of fruits and vegetables remains of significant importance in WELL.

With a significant decrease in preconditions comes the need for greater nutritional transparency (N02 Nutritional Transparency). We believe that individuals should know what they’re consuming and have the opportunity to make informed food choices. Though there are no longer mandatory restrictions on certain nutrients and ingredients, projects may still elect to meet higher nutrition standards and earn more points towards certification by meeting optimizations such as limiting refined ingredients (N03 Refined Ingredients) or implementing responsible sourcing (N11 Responsible Food Sourcing).

Overall, the Nourishment concept in WELL v2 offers more ways to impact individual dietary behaviors through a combination of design interventions such as eating spaces, meal support amenities and on-site food production, and supportive protocols, including advertising restrictions and responsible food sourcing. New topic areas include the provision of nutrition education (N07 Nutrition Education) -- a feature inspired by several Innovation submissions from projects around the world -- and supportive neighborhood-level food environments (N13 Local Food Environment). The hand washing feature (W08 Handwashing) has migrated to the Water concept as our Water advisors are better equipped to guide its evolution and a few Nourishment features from v1 have been dropped due to low feasibility.

Going forward, the Nourishment concept will continue to evolve under the guidance of the Nourishment advisory. This exceptional, global group of registered dieticians, behavioral researchers, urban gardeners, interior designers and public health and medical professionals provides guidance on the implementation, feasibility and impact of requirements that influence dietary behaviors.

Innovation and impact

Eating and kitchen spaces are becoming key components in modern spaces and increasingly common “third spaces” in corporate environments. Third spaces are generally informal, welcoming spaces that allow for more flexibility, socialization and collaboration. Around the world, companies like Structure Tone (US) and Cundall (UK) are integrating beautiful dining spaces and optimizing their workplace nourishment strategies. And the benefits don’t stop at the office -- we hear story after story of how employees take these healthy habits home with them and to their families!

Organizations are also increasingly providing snacks, meals and catering to attract employees and encourage work-life balance. These growing trends open the door for intentional design modifications and policies that support the nutritional health of individuals while minimizing unintended consequences.

The impact of promoting healthy dietary behaviors in the spaces and places where individuals work, learn and live goes beyond the traditional four walls. With education and changing habits, individuals are empowered with the knowledge to make better food choices for themselves, their friends and their families in a variety of settings, from restaurants to grocery stores and from office kitchens to home kitchens.

 

Built Positive - Circular Building in 1 Day: The Tools

in Amsterdam, NL
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Built Positive - The Toolbox: Well-being and Circularity from the Molecule to the Metropolis

in London, GB
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Built Positive - Healthy, Circular Buildings in One Day: From Principles to Practice

in Munich, DE
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Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, IWBI
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UKGBC - WELL Building Standard Course

in London, GB
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WELL Presentation (English)

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WELL skybridge

Approved Equivalent Language to Assist Project Teams in Transitioning from WELL v1 to WELL v2

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What's new with WELL v2: Movement

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Why movement matters

Physical activity is widely known to decrease the risk of countless chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer. It also has a powerful impact on quality of life, mental health and well-being. Despite the widely recognized benefits of physical activity, global estimates show that 23% of adults and 81% of adolescents do not achieve sufficient levels of physical activity (150 min/week for adults or 60 min/day for adolescents). Furthermore, sedentary behavior is also on the rise and poses unique risks to health that are independent of physical activity levels (the phenomenon of the active couch potato lives on). In addition to the widespread negative health impacts of physical inactivity, there are also stark economic implications.  In 2013 alone, it is estimated that physical inactivity cost healthcare systems $54 billion and contributed to nearly $14 billion in productivity losses worldwide.

Put simply, physical activity matters for more than just our physical health.

The pandemic of physical inactivity is not surprising. Today, the healthy choice is often the more difficult choice. The choice to be active is widely blocked by social, economic, environmental and personal barriers. In particular, the built environment is known to be a key influencer of physical activity behavior. When thoughtfully designed, our environments can invite and encourage physical activity. However, when we don’t put people at the center of design, our environments can be a deterrent of physical activity and even encourage sedentary behaviors.

Though tackling physical inactivity at the global scale is an immensely complex challenge, it has opened the door for industry innovation. It has forged new partnerships, renewed public health commitments and spurred advancements across the fields of design, technology, research and practice that show immense promise for changing the tone of this story. It is where the formerly unlikely partnership between design and public health was born and has created the climate for healthy-building rating systems like WELL to thrive.

Physical activity, today

Today, we understand more than ever that all movement matters for health. The way we think about physical activity includes that which we accumulate through intentional exercise and other leisure time activities and as well as a wide variety of activities that we engage in throughout the day. While your walk to work may not prepare you for the London Marathon, movement accumulated through active commuting, use of a sit-stand desk, walking meetings, alternating between flexible workspaces in your office and taking the stairs all contribute to total daily activity and have important health benefits.

In addition, the subdisciplines of physical activity have expanded beyond the traditional fields of exercise physiology, public health, epidemiology and other clinical fields to include those of design, architecture, technology, transportation, urban planning and others. This has deepened our understanding of the intersection between health and physical activity and, more importantly, expanded the framework for intervention. A push for a more comprehensive and systems-level framework for action is now being adopted at a global scale. In fact, the World Health Organization recently released the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 that recognizes the necessary intersection of environmental design, policies and programs working together towards shared physical activity targets including those that overlap with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.  

Movement in WELL v2

In alignment with globally recognized goals to reduce physical inactivity, the intent of the Movement concept in WELL v2 is to promote movement, physical activity and active living and discourage sedentary behaviors. Towards these goals, the concept integrates tried and true strategies such as those defined in the Active Design Guidelines including active staircases, amenities for active occupants including bike parking, showers and lockers, building location and site amenities and dedicated exercise spaces. Here at IWBI, we also recognize that good design should be complemented by comprehensive wellness policies and programs that further reinforce healthy behaviors and a healthy environment. These include strategies like physical activity programming.

Under WELL v1, we saw a tremendous response from projects eager to have a positive impact on their employees and building occupants. We saw creativity, innovation and intention towards physical activity and movement including the MNP Tower in Vancouver, Canada complete with a rock climbing wall (yes that’s right!) and the beautifully designed staircase at Mirvac Headquarters in Sydney, Australia.

What’s changed

One of the changes we’re most excited about is the evolution of the concept’s name from Fitness in WELL v1 to Movement in WELL v2. This shift is meant to reflect the fact that all movement matters and you don’t need to be physically fit to enjoy the benefits that movement and physical activity have to offer.

In addition, with the adoption of topics like ergonomics, the concept seeks to adopt a more holistic approach to achieve its goals. Today, occupational injuries and ergonomic factors rank among the leading drivers of disability for those ages 15-49 worldwide. The Movement concept seeks to address ergonomic comfort and safety through a variety of strategies including design, education, training and other policies. The Movement concept includes two features related to ergonomics: a precondition that expands upon Feature 73 (from WELL v1) to also require education and an optimization that requires projects to connect with experts to provide employees with training and education support including regular audits of ergonomic conditions.

The Movement concept also considers emerging technologies such as sensors and wearables which ranked third on a list of fitness trends monitored by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2018. While we still have much to learn about the long-term utility of wearable technologies, we are eager to explore how WELL projects can best leverage these tools.

WELL v2 also takes a more flexible approach to physical activity promotion and incentives through feature V11: Physical Activity Promotion. The literature on this subject is challenging but what we learned from projects in WELL v1 and in our conversations with experts is that physical activity promotion can take on many forms including everything from subsidies for group fitness classes to flexible scheduling.

Finally, the Movement concept recognizes the critical role of context. Community context that is. Feature V05: Site Planning and Selection offers an array of point earning opportunities and encourages projects to consider locations that are near multiple building use types, are pedestrian and cyclist friendly and are located near public transit opportunities. This feature is deeply synergistic with sustainability, drawing from the approaches of green rating systems. Why? Because what’s good for the planet is usually good for people.   

What’s the Impact

The impact of changing the global physical activity narrative is substantial. Worldwide, if physical inactivity were reduced by just 10%, more than half a million deaths could be averted. The Movement concept aims to change the modern physical activity narrative through better design, better policies and better programs. When we invite movement through the spaces in which we live, learn, work and play these spaces help us thrive. And that’s what WELL is all about.

 

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WELL Addenda

Q3 2018

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