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WELL Certification: The Next Frontier

by Alex Spilger, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Services


Creating an office environment that attracts top talent and fosters innovation involves more than implementing the latest trends in design. The WELL Certification appears as if it could be be the next frontier in office design. Read on to find out why.

From Protecting the Environment to Enhancing Human Health

While LEED Certification set the benchmark for developing environmentally friendly buildings and responsibly sourcing materials, more companies are now
directing their efforts toward the human-side of sustainability. The relatively new WELL Building Standard was born from the demand for an independent rating system that focuses exclusively on the health and well-being of occupants.

The WELL Building Standard is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation formed in 2013. The standard takes into account seven categories called ‘Concepts’: air, water, nutrition, light, fitness, comfort and mind – all of which are based on medical research concerning how environments affect human health.

Within the seven ‘Concepts’ of WELL are over 100 wellness ‘Features’, each designed to improve the overall health, mood, sleep and performance of a building’s occupants.

One of the most fascinating concepts is ‘fitness,’ which was discussed in detail at the CoreNet Global Summit in Philadelphia.  Alex Spigler, Cushman & Wakefield’s first WELL AP, sat on a panel with other experts to discuss the principles of active design, how important this is for the CRE industry, what role it places in WELL and how folks can implement best-practices into their everyday lives. Watch the video below to see a time lapse illustration of this discussion.

Healthier = More Productive

In addition to attracting top talent, studies have shown that these healthier, WELL Certified workplaces lead to more productive and better performing employees. With health care costs on the rise, companies are facing higher insurance costs while individuals are required to cover higher deductibles and co-payments. Small changes to increase everyday wellness can significantly reduce sick time, increase employee satisfaction and have a big impact on a company’s bottom line. WELL Certification may ultimately lead to lower insurance premiums for companies, providing quantifiable returns on investment.

Allison Kim, Northwest Sustainability Lead at Cushman & Wakefield explains, “The interest in wellness in the workplace has been around for quite some time. WELL Certification provides the industry with a comprehensive and well-organized framework for evaluating all aspects of wellness within the built environment – mental, emotional and physical.”

This is Just the Beginning

While the wellness movement has gained international attention within the building industry, the WELL Building Standard is still in its infancy and the number of projects that have achieved WELL Certification is relatively small. Several of Cushman & Wakefield’s
more forward-thinking clients are at various stages of the WELL Certification process – led in part by our growing sustainability team. Internally, Cushman & Wakefield is also evaluating WELL Certification for several of our own offices.

The above is an excerpt from our Fall 2016 edition of the Occupier Edge. To learn more about the WELL Certification, download the article here.

alex_spilgerAlex Spilger is the Senior Vice President of Sustainability Services for Cushman and Wakefield. 





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