Wellness is the active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to live a higher quality life, because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions.
Today, the building industry has become aware of the close linkage between the design of our built environment and the choices that impact our health. The location, design, and management of buildings has a direct impact on occupant wellness. Healthier buildings benefit employee wellness.
There are two major standards that address this topic: the WELL Building Standard, and Fitwel Certification Standard.
WELL Building Standard
The WELL Building Standard explores how design, operations and behaviors within the places where we live, work, learn and play can be optimized to advance human health and well-being. Covering seven core concepts of health and hundreds of features, WELL is a flexible building standard and represents the future of modern design.
Launched in October 2014 after six years of research and development, the WELL Building Standard is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.
WELL was developed by integrating scientific and medical research and literature on environmental health, behavioral factors, health outcomes and demographic risk factors that affect health with leading practices in building design and management. WELL also references existing standards and best practice guidelines set by governmental and professional organizations.
WELL Certification and the WELL AP credentialing program are third-party administered through IWBI’s collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which also administers LEED certification, the global green building program, and the LEED professional credentialing program. This relationship assures that WELL works seamlessly with LEED.
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Fitwel Certification Standard
Fitwel is a unique, low-cost, high-impact certification standard enabling positive impacts on building occupant health and productivity through improvements to workplace design and policies. Fitwel enables buildings, often workplaces, to be assessed against a baseline of evidence-based criteria that define a health-promoting environment. In office environments, Fitwel’s initial target market, the expected improvements in employee wellness may result in lower health care costs, lower rates of absenteeism, and increased revenue from enhanced employee performance. The Fitwel certification responds to the growing demand for recognition of healthier buildings and workplaces, serving as a market differentiator to retain and attract tenants and future employees.
Fitwel guides and enables a healthier future where building design and policy supports occupant wellbeing and health. It is based on the premise that new and existing buildings—regardless of their size, age, budget, and location—can support healthy occupants through incremental changes.
Fitwel provides over 60 strategies applying evidence based strategies with the highest potential impact. The certification assesses workplace features including the design of stairwells and outdoor spaces, and policies such as indoor clean air standards and healthy food standards. The system is designed to encourage facility managers to work continually to increase building scores.
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