Intro to WELL v2 Webinar Replay – The Future of Healthy Buildings

Learn all about WELL v2 (version 2) in this 1-hour webinar recording. Special thanks to our guests from the IWBI (International WELL Building Institute) for an informative introduction to the next Version of WELL.

Host: Alyson Laura, Director of Education, Green Building Education Services (GBES)
Presenters:  Angela Spangler, Director of Market Development, IWBI
Dominic Ruiz, Associate of Market Development, IWBI

What is WELL?

The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based green building rating system designed to provide guidelines and strategies for designing, building, and operating built environments that promote the human health, well-being, and productivity of the building’s occupants. WELL is grounded in many years of medical research around 7 main WELL “Concepts”: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. The next version of WELL (WELL v2), includes additional “Concepts” and strategies (referred to as WELL “Features”) around Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, and Community.

Why should a building earn WELL certification?

Studies show that in this day and age the average person spends about 90% of their time indoors. Furthermore, on average, about 90% of a company’s expenses are in their human capital (employees) and their salaries. The WELL Building Standard is all about making the human capital (people) of a company more productive, happier, and healthier. A building should earn WELL certification because employees in a WELL certified building will get more done every day, miss work less often, feel more fulfilled and connected to their employer, and produce a higher quality of work. Other benefits of a WELL certification include: recruiting better talent, reduction in staff turnover, increased revenue, reduced medical and healthcare costs, and increased perceived physical and psychological health. The reason that WELL Building certification is becoming so popular so quickly is due to the fact that all of the “Concepts” and “Features” of the WELL Building Standard are based heavily in medical studies and research from the Mayo Clinic and Delos. For this reason, pursuing WELL certification acts as your guide to designing, building, and operating healthier buildings with scientific evidence proving that the features you incorporate in your building will pay off.

Why should a person earn the WELL AP designation?

WELL is growing quite rapidly, even faster than LEED did originally back in 2000. Our opinion is that every industry is moving toward health and wellness trends; so, you could be ahead of a big ‘wellness real estate’ trend.  Click here to check out our WELL AP Platinum Pack if you want to ace your WELL AP exam.

What is WELL v2  (version 2)?

WELL v2 is the second iteration of the WELL Building Standard. Due to the rapid growth of the WELL Building Standard, a wealth of additional knowledge, data, research, and evidence has been collected. The IWBI (International WELL Building Institute) behind the WELL Building Standard has been working over the past year-and-a-half to take this knowledge and bring their program to the next level. To date, over 630 amendments in 11 updates of WELL v1, 9 roundtables in 8 cities, and feedback from over 190 organizations have brought us to WELL v2.

In May of 2018, the IWBI launched WELL v2 as a pilot program that projects could choose to pursue as an alternative to WELL v1. Some projects would benefit from utilizing WELL v2, and others would likely achieve lower levels of WELL certification. The IWBI has done well to provide a free analysis tool that you can download by clicking here and provides you with an analysis of how a WELL v1 project would perform if it utilized the WELL v2 pilot program. It is recommended that all WELL projects consider utilizing the WELL v2 pilot program as they may be able to achieve higher certification levels. For assistance navigating WELL certification for one of your projects, please feel free to email our Director of Sales and Marketing, Michael Cichetti (mi**************@gb**.com), with the subject line “WELL Project”. Michael will be happy to answer your questions and/or connect you with experienced WELL consultants. In addition to the IWBI’s free analysis tool, the IWBI continues to provide helpful WELL coaches to help project teams select the version of WELL that is the best fit for each particular project. WELL coaches are a free benefit that come with registering a project for WELL certification.

Please note that if you are studying for the WELL AP exam currently, you do not need to worry about the exam changing to include WELL v2 questions probably until sometime in 2020 or later. At GBES, our specialty is helping you prepare for and stay current on all WELL and LEED exam changes and tweaks. The current WELL AP exam only tests on WELL v1. When the exams update, we update all our resources with the changes. To browse all of our best-selling WELL AP study tools, click here.

What has changed with WELL v2?

Major Changes:

  • New WELL Concepts and Features have been added – there are 7 WELL concepts in WELL v1, but this expands to 10 concepts in WELL v2. Brand new concepts include: Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, and Community. Fortunately for those of us familiar with WELL v1, a lot of v1 features have shifted into these new WELL concepts; so, the changes aren’t as major as they may initially sound.
  • One WELL for all project types – (no more pilot programs for different project types). The exception here is WELL Communities which will live as it’s own distinct program. This may sound confusing, but in fact, this simplifies things. Essentially, new projects registering for WELL v2 start with a WELL scorecard (aka WELL Checklist or WELL Certification Matrix) and then you have the ability to pick and choose the WELL features your project plans to pursue. One pool of WELL features is shared between existing buildings and new buildings, but the features pursued can be different. The great thing is that you get to pick the features that you are most likely to achieve! For more about how this process works, our video at the top of this page includes a demonstration from the IWBI.
  • Less exclusivity – there are less Preconditions (or things you “have to” do) with WELL v2. This was done in an effort to exclude less projects from being able to pursue WELL certification and provide a universal set of Preconditions for all building and space types. The focus of Preconditions now is more on policy oriented features and minor interior design changes.
  • Weighted points system based on the size of impact of individual features – similarly to LEED, the new version of WELL is a point-based rating system. We love this because it will help us be sure to prioritize and incorporate more of the WELL features that are most beneficial. To earn Silver certification under WELL v2 you will need to earn 50 points, 60 for Gold, and 80 for Platinum (this is in addition to meeting all of the Preconditions, of course). Under WELL v1, this tiered breakdown of certification levels is based on a percentage of Optimizations earned out of how many are applicable (for example if you meet all Preconditions and 0% (or more) of the applicable Optimizations you would earn Silver certification, if you meet all Preconditions and earn 40% (or more) of applicable Optimizations, you would earn Gold certification, and if you meet all Preconditions and 80% (or more) of applicable Optimizations you would earn Platinum certification).
  • Discounts  –  some WELL v2 projects are illegible for sizable discounts. WELL v2 interior projects within WELL v2 Core (or WELL v1 Core & Shell) building can receive a 20% discount on their WELL certification fees. A bigger 35% discount will be available for projects in “lower-middle” and “low” income countries as defined by World Bank Atlas Method. For more information about WELL pricing or to receive a custom quote, click here.

Minor Changes:

  • Fitness Concept has been re-branded to Movement Concept – this is simply to better describe the features within this concept.
  • There is a new digital platform – one that is more user friendly and helps you easily tailor a WELL scorecard that best suits your building/space type. The best way to get a good look at this new digital platform is to watch our video at the top of this page.

Next Steps

If you enjoy learning about the WELL Building Standard and WELL v2, we encourage you to consider becoming a WELL AP yourself. There is still time for you to be at the forefront of this Wellness Movement! We have a lot of great free study tools to get you started and some even better study tools that you can purchase. Here are helpful links:

Free WELL AP Resources

WELL AP Platinum Pack – all of our best study tools in one bundle so you have everything you need to become a WELL AP on your first try!


More WELL v2 Resources

Simply click on these links below to initiate an instant download (of that free resource) to your computer or device:

What’s New With WELL v2 Guide – this 4-page pdf summarizes the changes with WELL v2 (from WELL v1).

WELL v2 Pricing Sheet – this 2-page pdf summarizes what’s changed with the pricing structure of WELL (for projects) under WELL v2 and what is staying the same.

WELL v1 to WELL v2 Comparison Tool – this excel spreadsheet provides a great overview of WELL v1 Features compared to WELL v2 Features, and it allows project teams to easily estimate how many points a project might be able to achieve under the current WELL v2 pilot program. Select the points you estimate achieving from “v1 Features” tab drop-downs, then select the points you estimate achieving from the “New v2 Features” tab, and instantly get a tallied estimate of total points on the “Estimated Achievement Total” tab.

WELL Certification Guidebook (for v1 and v2 Projects) – this 28-page pdf provides a complete overview of how to register a project for WELL certification and what that process entails.

WELL Performance Verification Guidebook (for v1 and v2 Projects) – this 31-page pdf provides a complete overview of the Performance Verification process and testing procedures.

WELL v2 PR Package (for WELL-Registered Projects) – this 7-page pdf provides ideas and copy on how to tell the world about your newly-registered WELL project.

WELL Addenda Table Q4 2018 (v1 and v2 Changes) – this excel spreadsheet contains a summary of all WELL addenda (aka changes) for the WELL v2 Pilot Program, WELL v1 Building Standard, other WELL Building Standard Pilots, the WELL Community Standard Pilot, and WELL Guidebooks as of Q4 2018.


WELL Community Standard Resources

Simply click on these links below to initiate an instant download (of that free resource) to your computer or device:

WELL Community Standard Certification Guidebook – this 24-page pdf contains an overview of the WELL Community Standard Pilot program and certification process.

WELL Community Standard – This 294-page pdf includes all the information about you need about the WELL Community Standard Pilot program as of Q4 2018.

WELL Community Standard Project Checklist – This excel spreadsheet is useful for planning and organizing the WELL Community certification process. Also referred to in the industry as a “Certification Matrix” or “Scorecard”, it is a helpful tool in organizing the optimizations that should (or shouldn’t) be pursued during project certification.

WELL v2 PR Package (for WELL Community Projects) – This 6-page pdf provides ideas and copy on how to tell the world about your community’s commitment to human health and wellness.

Special thanks to the IWBI for all of these valuable free WELL v2 resources. Additional resources from them about WELL v2 can be found by clicking here.


Want to become a WELL AP?

The easiest way to become a WELL AP is through our new education offering GBES UNLIMITED. We’ve broken down everything you need to know to pass the WELL AP exam into sections reinforced with multiple learning styles. Read about the exam, watch videos, take practice exams, flip digital flash cards, read exam forums, and pass your exam on the first try! Click here to learn more and unlock access to all our WELL Study Tools and Continuing Education for an entire year!

P.S. GBES UNLIMITED also includes study tools and CE for all the LEED credentials as well!