An Overview of the New WELL Community Standard

The International WELL Building Institute released the WELL Community Standard in September 2017. According to the Institute, the WELL Community Standard is the premier global guidance designed to support health and well-being through buildings and communities that are integrated, resilient, and inclusive.

Through the WELL Community Standard, the Institute strivers to elevate human health to the forefront when it comes building and design practices in the construction and affiliated industries. The ultimate objective of the WELL Community Standard is to deliver cutting edge wellbeing and health interventions on a district-wide level, rather than just building project by building project.

Four Primary Elements to Understand Associated with the WELL Community Standard

The 2017 incarnation of the WELL Community Standard necessitates an understanding of four key underlying elements. First, the WELL Community Standard has been a work in progress. The newly launched standard follows its predecessor released in 2014. The 2014 incarnation of the standard represented the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the wellness and health of people in buildings.

Second, as noted a moment ago, the 2017 version of the WELL Community Standard expands its guidelines beyond one building. The new version takes the application of the guidelines to a district wide, rather than individual building by building, level.

Third, in developing the latest standard, the International WELL Building Institute includes design strategies, performance metrics, and associated policies that involve comprehensive application. These are elements designed to be implemented by owners, contractors, designers, engineers, users, and operators of buildings, indeed of entire districts or communities.

Fourth, the WELL Community Standard involves the coordinated integration of scientific and medical research on matters that include environmental health, behavioral considerations, and demographics. These factors are analyzed in light of their impact on health, with leading practices associated with building design and management in mind.

The Five Fundamental Principles of the WELL Community Standard

Five fundamental principles underpin the WELL Community Standard. This principles guide the implementation of the standard.

First, the standard is evidence-based. What this means is that the guidelines in the standard rely upon a coherent, reliable body of research that offer consistent findings and conclusions. These findings and conclusions support the standard and its operation.

Second, the standard is designed to be broadly relevant. In other words, the standard proposes interventions that possess aa broad application.

Third, benefits associated with the implementation of the standard are designed to be inclusive of all demographic and economic groups.

Fourth, transparency is key to the development and implementation of the standard. The standard relies on the expertise of reputable individuals in scientific and engineering fields. In addition, the standard is designed to offer multiple opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

Finally, the standard is created and structured in a manner to ensure that it is resilient. By that it is meant that the standard remains responsive to advances in scientific knowledge as well as technology. The standard is continually able to integrate innovation, adapt to new technologies, and respond to a changing environment.

10 Organizational Concepts of the WELL Community Standard

The WELL Community Standard is organized to effect and maintain change along 10 individual, and yet integrated, concept. These begin with air. The standard includes provisions to reduce exposure to air pollution, both in buildings within the district and out of doors as well.

The same goal is found in association with water pollution and wholesomeness. This includes practices and technologies associated with drinking water and public sanitation.

The standard is also involved with nutrition, specifically focusing on food security and safety. In addition, the standard focuses on the availability of nutritious food, including fruit and vegetable access, availability, and affordability in the subject district or community.

Light is also a primary organizational concept in the standard. This includes appropriate illumination to address issues like safety and security. It also addresses issues associated with light pollution, which is a major issue in urban districts today.

Because the standard takes a holistic approach to wellness and health as well as living and working environments, the standard address issues associated with fitness. This includes incorporating fitness regimens into transportation modalities.

Other areas that are addressed organizationally by the standard include:

  • temperature
  • sound
  • materials
  • mind
  • community

The effectiveness of the WELL Community Standard is being subjected to ongoing, thorough review. This includes oversight and thorough evaluation by experts of different types, but also by the myriad of stakeholders potentially impacted by the standard.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.

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