Mayo Clinic is implementing its own study to observe the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ), further proving the growing demand in the healthy home market.
Known as the WELL Living Lab, the research space strives to examine the real-world impact of indoor environments and how it affects human health and well-being. The information garnered from the research will be used to create concrete evidence that can be carried over in finding more practical ways to create healthier indoor spaces.
In crafting the lab, Mayo Clinic partnered up with Delos. The company was a leading force in establishing the WELL Building Standard, the first of its kind to focus exclusively on human health and wellness in the built environment.
What is it and What Will It Do?
In essence, this space, which resembles a residential living area, will study the numerous variables that control the ever-changing properties of IAQ.
This is important because the average American spends nearly 90 percent of his/her time indoors on a daily basis. The air where we work, play and live is always susceptible to so many factors.
The goal of the WELL Living Lab is to tap into all these influences to create the most efficient HVAC and IAQ solutions possible.
“The WELL Living Lab has the unique capability to vary temperature, humidity, outside air quantity and ventilation and offer four different methods of filtration,” says Phil Williams, Delos executive director, project delivery.
By controlling these variables in residential live/cook/sleep settings, builders can identify which combinations of comfort—thermal, humidity and filtration—may provide the most desirable outcomes.
What This Means for Multifamily Builders
These studies will prove hugely beneficial to builders, but multifamily builders especially, as the research will likely offer up new HVAC/IAQ options in individual units. This is important because each customer has different needs.
What if you have an entire family of asthmatics moving into your community? What if you’re building for somebody with allergies? Or perhaps someone who is accustomed to a different type of climate?
“Ideally, builders will be able to include optimized base systems based upon different climates and then offer customized options/upgrades based upon a buyer’s personal choices and family health needs,” says Williams.
He adds that the lab’s diverse and flexible HVAC systems allow for a broad range of climates to be observed. IAQ solutions would differ when comparing a community in New York to a community in Florida.
Ultimately, the end goal is to create HVAC and IAQ options that are fully customizable to the individual. Williams refers to this as “my home, my system, my options.”
“Developers, builders, manufacturers and consumers will have the opportunity to see HVAC and IAQ move from a commodity product to a personal experience,” says Williams.
Multifamily builders should pay attention to these trends and studies, because when you’re constructing for the needs of many, you certainly want to make sure you’re addressing individual desires as well.