Like LEED, the original application of the WELL Building Standard seemed best suited for office environments. In the beginning, LEED seemed tricky to apply to other building types. Along the way, LEED evolved to accommodate more building types. Now, there are over a dozen sets of criteria and benchmarks for a variety of occupancies. Among them are LEED for Schools, Retail, Commercial Interiors, Data Centers, Homes, and more. Following suit, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is also finding new applications for WELL.
The WELL rating system is based around improving human health and wellbeing. Its preconditions (program prerequisites) and optimizations (credits) are focused on improving air quality, water quality, nutrition, light, comfort, mind, and fitness for building inhabitants. However, since the current program focuses on commercial buildings, what can easily be set as standard for a place of employment could be considered intrusive at someone’s home. Some optimizations, such as Ergonomics or Fruits and Vegetables, could never be applied to a multifamily project. For this reason, like LEED, IWBI is expanding the scope of the WELL Building Standard.
Currently, WELL Building Standard is in its pilot stage for multifamily buildings. Early adopters and developers looking to differentiate themselves in competitive urban markets can implement an additional level of comfort and health for their occupants.
The pilot program includes new and modified preconditions and optimizations. Like the original WELL, the Multifamily Pilot program requirements are intended to improve human health and wellbeing. New preconditions include minimum ventilation rates for residences. New and modified optimizations include requirements for air infiltration, kitchen sinks, housing equity, and light intrusion. Those that did not make sense, such as optimizations related to things like business travel, ergonomics, and those aimed at cafeterias, were not included in the multifamily pilot.
Projects with at least five dwelling units within a single building can apply for the Multifamily Residential Pilot. The rating system applies to apartments, condominiums, and townhomes, affordable or market-rate.
For more information on the WELL Building Standard and other ways to improve the sustainable design of your building, contact VCA Green below.
Contributing Writer: Glen Folland, Director of Sustainability
Moe Fakih, Principal