Author: Amy Ngo
ABSTRACT: The WELL Building Standard® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.
WELL is managed and administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation (figure 1) whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment. It is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness of its occupants. WELL Certified™ spaces and WELL Compliant™ core and shell developments can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, and sleep patterns. The WELL Building Standard® is third-party certified by the Green Business Certification Incorporation (GBCI), which administers the LEED certification program and the LEED professional credentialing program. The WELL building standards believe that buildings should be developed with people’s health and wellness at the center of design. The WELL Building Standard takes a holistic approach to health in the built environment addressing behavior, operations and design.
The certification is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Lastly, is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants.
WELL Certified™ spaces can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns and performance of its occupant. WELL measures attributes of buildings that impact occupant health by looking at seven Factors, or Concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, Mind (figure 2).
Essentially, to become a WELL AP you must study for and pass an exam which you take through Prometric computer lab testing centers. The WELL AP exam evaluates your understanding of WELL strategies and programs. It is a closed-book exam, and you have 2 hours to complete 100 multiple choice questions, which can be done in English, Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish. The only prerequisite to becoming a WELL AP is that you must be at least 18 years of age. Unlike the LEED AP (with specialty) exams, there is no prerequisite credential you must earn to take the WELL AP exam.
There are three levels of WELL certification that employ preconditions; mandatory requirements that all project items need to meet. All certifications require a three-year recertification cycle, with an exception for core and/or shell buildings.
- Silver – certification reaching 100% of WELL preconditions of all concepts.
- Gold – certification reaching 100% of WELL preconditions as well as 40% or more optimizations.
- Platinum – certification reaching 100% of WELL preconditions as well as 80% or more optimizations
In conclusion, it is important to know that like LEED credentials, the WELL AP credential has maintenance requirements within each two-year credentialing period. Due to the complementary nature of LEED and WELL, many credit hours can be shared across credentials during the same credentialing period. For example, your 6 well-specific hours will serve as general CE for your LEED credential. The WELL certification dictates that owners and occupants can feel confident that their spaces are purpose-built to support human health through improving nutrition, fitness, work/life balance and happiness, sleeping patterns, and mood.
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Canada Green Building Council to oversee LEED certification in Canada. https://www.gbci.org/canada-green-building-council-oversee-leed-certification-canada
“How to Pass the WELL AP Exam – [Step-By-Step Instructions+Resources].” GBES, 28 June 2019, www.gbes.com/blog/how-to-pass-the-well-ap-exam/. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.
“WELL Building Standard® | WELL Standard.” Wellcertified.com, 2019, standard.wellcertified.com/well.
“What Is WELL? | U.S. Green Building Council.” Usgbc.org, 2015, www.usgbc.org/articles/what-well.
“Why WELL Certification?” Aura Office, 3 May 2018, www.auraoffice.ca/blog/well-certification/. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021
Amy is a multidisciplinary designer based in Toronto, Canada. As well, is an aspiring interior designer currently in her third year, studying at Ryerson University’s School of Interior design. She has a passion for making, and a strong background in visual arts. Her designs are created with an intent to evoke emotions, establish meaningful connections, and push boundaries, all while working with the concept of environmental sustainability. She is always looking to grow and learn in this flexible and ever-changing field.