Intro to WELL v2 Webinar Replay – The Future of Healthy Buildings

Learn all about WELL v2 (version 2) in this 1-hour webinar recording. Special thanks to our guests from the IWBI (International WELL Building Institute) for an informative introduction to the next Version of WELL.

Host: Alyson Laura, Director of Education, Green Building Education Services (GBES)
Presenters:  Angela Spangler, Director of Market Development, IWBI
Dominic Ruiz, Associate of Market Development, IWBI

What is WELL?

The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based green building rating system designed to provide guidelines and strategies for designing, building, and operating built environments that promote the human health, well-being, and productivity of the building’s occupants. WELL is grounded in many years of medical research around 7 main WELL “concepts”: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. The next version of WELL (WELL v2), includes additional concepts and strategies (referred to as WELL “features”) around Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, and Community.

Why should a building earn WELL certification?

Studies show that in this day and age the average person spends about 90% of their time indoors. Furthermore, on average, about 90% of a companies’ expenses are in their human capital (employees) and their salaries. The WELL Building Standard is all about making the human capital of a company more productive, happier, and healthier. Employees in a WELL certified building will get more done every day, miss less work, feel more fulfilled and connected to their employer, and produce a higher quality of work. Other benefits of a WELL certification include: recruiting better talent, reduction in staff turnover, increased revenue, reduced medical and healthcare costs, and increased perceived physical and psychological health.

What is WELL v2  (version 2)?

WELL v2 is the second iteration of the WELL Building Standard. Due to the rapid growth of the WELL building standard, a wealth of additional knowledge, data, research, and evidence has been collected.  The IWBI (International WELL Building Institute) behind the WELL Building Standard has been working over the past year-and-a-half to take this knowledge and bring their program to the next level. To date, over 630 amendments in 11 updates of WELL v1, 9 roundtables in 8 cities, and feedback from over 190 organizations have brought us to WELL v2.

In May of 2018, the IWBI launched WELL v2 as a pilot program that projects could choose to pursue as an alternative to WELL v1. Some projects would benefit from utilizing WELL v2, and others would likely achieve lower levels of WELL certification. The IWBI has done well to provide a free analysis tool that you can download by clicking here and provides you with an analysis of how a WELL v1 project would perform if it utilized the WELL v2 pilot program. Also, the IWBI continues to provide helpful WELL coaches to help project teams select the version of WELL that is the best fit for each particular project.

What has changed with WELL v2?

Major Changes:

  • New WELL Concepts and Features have been added – there are 7 WELL concepts in WELL v1, but this expands to 10 concepts in WELL v2. Brand new concepts include: Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, and Community. Fortunately for those of us familiar with WELL v1, a lot of v1 features have shifted into these new WELL concepts; so, the changes aren’t as major as they may initially sound.
  • One WELL for all project types – (no more pilot programs for different project types). The exception here is WELL Communities which will live as it’s own distinct program. This may sound confusing, but in fact, this simplifies things. Essentially, new projects registering for WELL v2 start with a WELL scorecard (aka WELL checklist or WELL certification matrix) and then pick and choose the WELL features the project plans to pursue. One pool of WELL features is shared between existing buildings and new buildings, but the features pursued can be different.
  • Less exclusivity – there are less Preconditions (or things you “have to do”) with WELL v2. This was done in an effort to exclude less projects from being able to pursue WELL certification and provide a universal set of Preconditions for all building and space types. The focus of Preconditions now is more on policy oriented features and minor interior design changes.
  • Weighted points system based on the size of impact of individual features – similarly to LEED, the new version of WELL is a point-based rating system. We love this because it will help us be sure to prioritize and incorporate  more of the WELL features that are most beneficial.  To earn Silver certification under WELL v2 you will need to earn 50 points, 60 for Gold, and 80 for Platinum (this is in addition to meeting all of the Preconditions, of course).
  • Discounts  –  some WELL v2 projects are illegible for sizable discounts. WELL v2 interior projects within WELL v2 Core or WELL v1 Core & Shell buildings can receive a 20% discount on their WELL certification fees. A bigger 35% discount will be available for projects in “lower-middle” and “low” income countries as defined by World Bank Atlas Method. For more information about WELL pricing or to receive a custom quote, click here.

Minor Changes:

  • Fitness Concept has been re-branded to Movement Concept – this is simply to better describe the features within this concept.
  • There is a new digital platform – one that is more user friendly and helps you easily tailor a WELL scorecard that best suits your building/space type.

Next Steps

If you enjoy learning about the WELL Building Standard and WELL v2, we encourage you to consider becoming a WELL AP yourself. There is still time for you to be at the forefront of this “Wellness Movement”! We have a lot of great free study tools to get your started and some even better study tools that you can purchase. Here are helpful links:

Free WELL AP Resources

WELL AP Platinum Pack