Now more than ever before, health and wellness is a top priority across all facets of life. And around the world, the real estate, architecture and design communities are working together to evolve the built environment to best serve basic human needs. The settings in which we live, work and play have a direct impact on our well-being, from our productivity and performance to our sleeping cycles.
On November 29th, Paul Scialla, the Founder & CEO of Delos, a New York-based wellness real estate and technology firm behind the WELL Building Standard™, and Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman & CEO of the International WELL Building Institute, joined together with Cushman & Wakefield to host a discussion with 40 members of the NYC real estate industry on the impact of the built environment on the human experience.
During the session, the group discussed how the world’s largest asset class – real estate – is merging with the world’s fastest growing industry – wellness – to create spaces that maximize human health and potential.
The WELL Building Standard
Paul, who had previously spent 18 years on Wall Street, including 10 at Goldman Sachs as a Partner, explained that after his time in the financial industry he adopted a genuine concern for the human health condition. Focused on this, he realized that there was a gap in sustainability in real estate. Energy and environmental considerations led the green building movement, he argued, but lacked the human element.
This inspired Paul to establish the International WELL Building Institute, and pioneer the WELL Building Standard. Created in 2014, the WELL Building Standard serves as a system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact the health and well-being of the people who live, work and learn in the buildings.
WELL focuses on seven categories of building performance: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. WELL is grounded in evidence-based medical research that demonstrates the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and health and wellness impacts on us as occupants.
Why is wellness so important to real estate?
Real estate is the largest asset class at $180 trillion, and health and wellness is the fastest growing industry with 18 percent growth year-over-year. During the discussion, Paul explained the huge opportunity to merge the two.
Consider the fact that the average American spends the majority of their life indoors, and 70 percent of indoor air on earth is of lower air quality than outdoor air. This indoor air predicament isn’t natural – it simply is not how humans are built. And the chronic health outcomes resulting from indoor air consumption are numerous and include respiratory, cardiovascular, immune deficiencies and mental health issues. While genetics and lifestyle play a significant role, more than 60 percent of chronic health outcomes relate to surrounding environmental conditions.
The thought process behind the International WELL Building Institute is focused on preventative medical intentions. Our country spends $3 trillion each year on healthcare – twice the GDP percentage of Europe. This spend is primarily post-diagnosis, not preventative medicine. Buildings have the power to effect health, and smart buildings can improve the human condition. For example, buildings can assess their lighting to ensure that the types of lighting used positively impact melatonin levels for better sleep at night for its occupants.
With guidelines like the WELL Building Standard, real estate can be leveraged as a healthcare intervention tool.
Thank you to the Murphy Trump team and Marlene Manzella, a Director in global brokerage based at 1290 Avenue of Americas, who organized the event.