Since its inception in 2000, the LEED certification system (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) has grown to encompass more than 15,000 projects in the United States and 30 other countries around the world. The LEED rating system, developed and administered by the UGSBC (United States Green Building Council), is designed to promote sustainability, and reward design and construction practices that lead to both environmental stewardship and cost savings. The LEED certification incorporates both the built environment and occupant health, but an innovative emerging rating system could take occupant health and safety standards to a whole new level.
The WELL Building Standard is administered by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) and was pioneered by Delos, a wellness and technology firm. WELL was launched by Delos founder Paul Scialla in 2013, following a Clinton Global Initiative call to action on building occupant health. Already, IWBI has nearly 20 million square feet of building projects of WELL certified building projects in 12 countries. Its ultimate goal is to transform health and create a positive human experience through 7 impact categories–air, water, mind, comfort, nourishment, fitness, and light. These impact categories were designed to work closely with LEED and to allow overlap in building improvements.
The WELL Building Standard was developed and reviewed by a leading group of practitioners, physicians, and researchers, whose objectives were to approach wellness holistically and to qualify claims made by the WELL standard. Michelle Moore, a former environmental executive for President Obama and new WELL strategic advisor, has this to say about the WELL standard, “Wellness is the next frontier for the sustainability movement – connecting human health and environmental health.” By bringing human wellness into the sustainability conversation, founder Paul Scialla hopes that WELL will be the cornerstone of human health in the built environment.
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