People in the focus of buildings

Learn about the certification that assesses the impact on the health of residents

The National Human Activity Pattern Survey, conducted by Berkeley Lab Energy, an American institution that researches and develops energy technologies and reduces environmental impacts, found that we spend, on average, 90% of our lives’ time in built environments.

Building, building, concrete, apartment

As scientific analysis and awareness of human mental health increases, architects, engineers and designers begin to look at the importance of putting people at the heart of each project’s process.

This growing trend has given rise to WELL Building Certification – considered the world’s first certificate focused exclusively on health and human well-being. Offered by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), the certification was launched in 2015 after seven years of analysis.

Its development went through important points, such as scientific evidence of studies promoted by medical, scientific and engineering entities.

It confirms that the environment with adequate and healthy characteristics fully contributed to the well-being, comfort, increased productivity, improvement of satisfaction, and even the happiness of occupants. In addition, it directly influences psychological effects, often caused by spaces whose routines have a high level of stress, such as hospital buildings.

family at home
Construtora Laguna is a pioneer in this certification and is the only Brazilian Developer and Construction company member of IWBI.

“We had contact with well certification in 2017, at the 10-year event of GBC Brazil. From that year on, we went deeper into the theme and incorporated the concepts into our endeavors,” says André Marin, director of incorporation at Laguna. He says that although the goal is not certification, they bring the seal of effort in improving comfort, choices, health, well-being and even the happiness of residents and regulars of the construction company’s projects.

According to Guido Petinelli, director of Petinelli, a company specializing in WELL certification, the evolution of constructions will divide the market into two groups: a smaller group of innovators seeking differentiation and competitive advantage. And a larger group that generally waits for innovators to validate new concepts.

“WELL is an innovation and developers who seek to differentiate their products and attract customers with a more qualified product, they will see in certification an opportunity. Comfort, well-being and health are universal themes and with great appeal”, points Guido. For him, questions should arise about LEED or WELL certification.

About WELL Certification

The WELL Certification is based on ten categories related to human health in the built environment: air, water, nutrition, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. A space with this certificate can therefore improve the diet, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants. Here’s how:

  • WELL sets criteria to ensure that water will always be free of contaminants and taste good. The WELL buildings have drinking fountains installed up to 30 meters from the people.
  • A WELL building features a cafeteria or even a vending machine with healthy options highlighted.
  • Sunlight – which regulates the biological clock, also called the “circadian cycle” – is abundant in WELL buildings. They are also designed to ensure that artificial lighting is right for every space and activity. This is key to working, studying, reading, and watching TV comfortably.
  • The design of a WELL building carefully considers stimulating movement and physical activities in its design. All space equipment sits ergonomically.
  • The air conditioning system has to be able to regulate the temperature in the environment, but the occupant has to be in control. Each person has a taste, and comfort is being able to meet the demands individually.
home and nature
The certification process considers a total of five steps: registration; documentation; performance check; certification; and recertification.

In addition to meeting the demand for quality of life, health and productivity of users combined with environmental sustainability within the built spaces, it is a complementary tool to the LEED International Certification.

This integration between IWBI and USGBC (Unites States Green Building Council) with WELL and LEED certifying tools provide more assertive development and ensure positive results.

swimming pool and leisure

According to a case study conducted by IWBI, with users of the first WELL Building Standard certified building, CBRE’s California-based home, 83% of occupants said they felt more productive and 92% reported that the new workspace had had positive health and wellness effects.