WELL Building Standard V2: Designing Healthy Workplaces

In the middle of a pandemic, the International WELL Building Institute wants to transform communities and buildings to help people succeed while bringing a cutting-edge WELL building standard. Let’s find out how.

WELL Building Standard V2 for Commercial building with green lawn

The WELL building standard is a green building rating system based on performance. It aims to provide strategies and guidelines for building, designing, and operating built environments to boost well-being, human health, and productivity.

Why do buildings need WELL certification?

According to research, people spend about 90% of their time indoors. On average, companies spend about 90% on employees and their salaries. The WELL standard is all about ensuring that the employees are happier, healthier, and more productive. Therefore, a building must earn WELL certification. If the building is WELL-certified, the employees will be more productive and will not miss work. They will feel fulfilled and more connected to their employer.

Here are other benefits of WELL certification:

  • Increased perceived psychological and physical health
  • Increased revenue
  • Recruiting better talents
  • Reduced healthcare and medical costs
  • Reduced staff turnover

The WELL building certification is so popular today because all the concepts and features depend on research and medical studies. It only makes sense to pursue WELL certification. Doing so will help in designing, building, and operating healthier establishments.

What you should know about the WELL building standard v2

Because of the growth of the WELL building standard, there was a need to collect additional knowledge, research, data, and evidence. The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has been working on using this knowledge and taking the program to a higher level.

The IWBI launched WELL v2, where projects could have the option to pursue as an alternative to the first version. They also created a free analysis tool to check the performance of a WELL v1 project if it were to utilize the WELL v2 program. For them to achieve higher certification levels, projects will need to use the WELL v2 program.

Aside from the IWBI tool, they also provide WELL coaches to aid project teams in choosing the version that will best fit each project.

Office location

What makes the WELL v2 different from WELL v1?

Both the WELL v1 and v2 versions are valuable to project owners. Deciding which of these versions is better will depend on the owner’s project aspirations on which version to follow. There are noticeable changes between the WELL v1 and WELL v2. These include the following:

Minor changes:

  1. Rebranding Fitness to Movement. Changing the name from fitness to movement describes the features within the concept better.
  2. The new digital platform is more user-friendly. It helps tailor a WELL scorecard that fits the building type.

Major changes:

  1. There are additional concepts and features. There used to be 7 in WELL v1, but there are 10 in WELL v2. These new concepts include thermal comfort, community, and movement.
  2. All project types only use one WELL. It means that pilot programs for different project types are no longer necessary. It may seem confusing since WELL communities live as a separate program, but it’s simple. In essence, new projects that register for WELL v2 will start with a WELL checklist or certification matrix. This matrix is what we call a WELL scorecard. And then, owners will choose the WELL features they want their project to pursue.

Existing and new buildings may share one pool of WELL features, but each building can pursue them differently. The good thing about the WELL v2 is that all building types can pick the features they want to achieve.

  1. There’s less exclusivity in WELL v2. There are fewer preconditions in WELL 2, which means you don’t have to do many things. The goal is to exclude fewer projects from pursuing WELL certification and for buildings to follow a universal set of preconditions.

In WELL v2, the focus of the preconditions is on minor interior design changes and policy-oriented features.

  1. Unlike WELL v1, WELL v2 is a weighted points system. Under WELL v1, the breakdown of certification levels depends on the percentage of optimizations they earned from all applicable optimizations. In WELL v2, they use a point-based rating system. The points system it uses depends on the impact of the individual features. People love this because it helps them incorporate and prioritize more WELL features that will benefit them the most.

A building needs to earn 50 points to earn a silver certification, 60 points to earn gold and 80 points for platinum. Take note that this is on top of meeting all the preconditions.

  1. Getting discounts. Some WELL v2 projects are eligible for sizable discounts, while some aren’t. Interior projects within the WELL v2 CORE building can get a 20% discount on the WELL fees. For projects in low-middle- and low-income countries (according to the World Bank Atlas Method), a 35% discount may be available.

Office building insurance coverage

What are the benefits of the WELL building standard v2 to building owners?

90% of business expenses go to the employees and their salaries. It means that any improvement in the employees’ health and productivity is attainable. To the building owners, the concepts of the WELL building standard v2 are great on a human level. Focusing on their satisfaction and guaranteeing a healthy environment is one of the best investments today. It provides building managers with an accessible framework to get a certification as proof of those efforts.

Below are some reasons why buildings should follow the WELL building standard v2:

  • Many aspects of the WELL building standard help increase productivity across the enterprise.
  • The health improvement of the employees leads to a decrease in medical expenses.
  • Whenever the employees come in sick and don’t function optimally, employers spend ten times more than the cost of the workers missing work.
  • If the employees get sick and miss work, it takes up from 3 to 6 percent of their total working time, costing billions of dollars.
  • The WELL building standard creates engaged and satisfied workers. Companies with these kinds of employees experience 25% to 65% less staff turnover. That said, companies retain their staff, saving them the costs of training new hires.
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