Photo Credit: Velux Skylights
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that we spend 90% of our time indoors and that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. This means that the building environment can have a major impact on human wellness. And yet, this aspect often gets low priority in project designs. To address this issue, builders and organizations are now incentivized to prioritize plans that aim to improve the residents’ comfort and health. The most important program today is the WELL Building Standard®, a performance-based system used for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the building environment that impact human health.
In order to keep up with the ever-changing industry needs, the WELL Building Standard has evolved and a new version has been developed: the WELL Building Standard v2. The newly graduated standard serves as the foundation upon which the entire WELL ecosystem is now built.
Architecture of the Rating System
The new WELL v2 introduces reduced preconditions and expanded optimizations in order to allow builders and architects to lead with creativity and customize the journey with their projects. Since WELL v1 has more preconditions and less optimizations than WELL v2, projects that are certified under the first standard will most likely show more similarities. On the other hand, projects that are certified following the new WELL v2 will be more diverse, as there are fewer mandatory requirements and more optimizations to choose from. As well as different features, the latest version has also announced a scoring system similar to LEED, raising the Certification Levels from 3 to 4: Bronze (40 points), Silver (50 points), Gold (60 points) and Platinum (80 points).
WELL v2 operates on a points-based system, with 110 points available in each project scorecard. The projects that can seek the certification fall into two main groups, determined primarily by ownership type:
- Owner Occupied: this is owned or leased by the project owner, and regular occupants (e.g., employees) are affiliated with the project owner.
- WELL Core: the project owner occupies a small portion of the project area and rents/leases most of the space to one or more tenants.
Photo Credit: VT Industries
Photo Credit: VT Industries
The 10 Concepts of WELL
Compared to the previous version, WELL v2 has also increased the number of concepts from 7 to 10, with the goal of letting building owners have more freedom when choosing how to score points. The new and refurbished concepts are: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. In addition, the new version has consolidated features and strengthened feature sets that reduce the complexity of the standards and accommodate all project types and sectors. Every feature within the 10 concepts is underscored by available evidence that links design, policy and building-centric strategies. This resource can provide you with additional background information on WELL v2, as well as details on each concept and rating system.
How do Windows, Doors and Skylights Fit In?
Designing a home or building that promotes the occupants’ well-being can be accomplished at many levels of the design process, but especially important are windows, doors and skylights. From achieving natural ventilation through operable windows, providing indoor light exposure through windows and skylights, minimizing exterior noise levels with acoustic doors to effectively incorporating the natural environment to the indoor. And the list could go on. Windows, doors and skylights are a necessary and significant part of the process in achieving the goal of developing programs that promote healthy living for the community.
Understand the benefits of window, door and skylight certification and how certified products can enhance your projects.
The Understanding Window, Door & Skylight Certification webinar is designed to help architects and remodelers understand the benefits of window, door and skylight certification and how certified products can enhance their projects.