What’s the WELL revolution?27 June 2016
There’s something in the air! Everyone’s talking about health and wellbeing at work and home and, with the introduction of the new WELL Building Standard into the Australian building and construction industry, it could mean a few changes to the way we deliver HVAC solutions.
Developed in the US by Paul Scialla, founder of the International WELL Building Institute, the WELL Building Standard looks at how our health and well-being is addressed through the built environment. Looking at air, water and even light quality, WELL is not about removing negative impacts from a building, but about enhancing a building to boost people’s health.
“Sustainable building has become par for the course and if everything is not five star, it’s six star, and the benchmark keeps lifting,” says David Waldren, head of culture and innovation at construction company, Grocon.
For Grocon, Waldren says, it’s “about how can I create an environment in which a person or visitor who uses the building comes out of that experience feeling better or being better energised”.
“Psychologically and physically the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat and the buildings you inhabit have an impact. Let’s look at how that can impact in a positive way.”
The WELL Building Standard itself has been developed using top advice from fields of medicine, science, design, architecture and sustainability, and it’s been peer reviewed by 100+ external experts. It also incorporates best practices from industry organisations like the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which regularly updates its building handbook to include new techniques for enhancing air quality within buildings.
As part of the WELL assessment process on a building, a WELL assessor evaluates things like air quality – promoting clean air through systems of ventilation, filtration and more; thermal considerations – for example, ambient and radiant temperature, air speed and humidity; and even water quality and acoustic elements.
Scialla himself sums up just how positive the impacts that the WELL standard can have on our workplaces and homes when he says: “When people see how they can improve respiratory health, cardiovascular health, immunity health [and] sleep health by making certain adjustments to the four walls and a roof they occupy 90 per cent of their day, I think the idea becomes mainstream pretty quickly.”
You can read up on the WELL Building Standard and the particulars of air quality requirements under the standard at www.wellcertified.com.