Seven years ago, Paul Scialla conceived the WELL Building Standard, an idea which promotes human health and happiness in the places where we work, live and play.
The Founder and CEO of Delos noticed that topics such as “green building” and “sustainability” were popping up in conversations, but nobody was focusing on biological sustainability and how buildings impacted the health and wellness of the people inside of them.
“We developed WELL in part to emphasize the importance of air quality not only to the environment, but to human health and wellness, and we hope to see builders continue to embrace this and other features of WELL even further moving forward,” says Scialla.
Better Health in Multifamily
Trails blazed by the WELL Building Standard would work wonders for the multifamily market, where the more people there are, the greater the risk of airborne illness and possible contagion.
However, with the WELL Standard in place, multifamily would also mean more health and well-being for each and every individual resident.
When it comes to indoor air quality (IAQ), Scialla notes that builders are currently focusing on one side of the health equation while ignoring another powerful factor, which the WELL Building Standard aims to promote.
“While many builders recognize that indoor air quality affects our physical health, fewer have focused on the implications of indoor air quality on our mental and cognitive functions,” says Scialla.
Scialla points to a study done at SUNY Upstate University, which found that higher levels of carbon dioxide could negatively affect several measures of cognitive ability. A study published last month by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY and Syracuse University confirmed these findings.
WELL Standard Increases Property Value
In addition to boosting physical and mental health, the WELL Building Standard also holds the potential to increase property value and client demand for healthy housing.
We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, so paying close attention to the air quality of the areas we occupy will pay dividends in the long run.
“Health and wellness is one of the fastest-growing industries today, and it is an increasingly important factor in decision making for homebuyers,” says Scialla. “In fact, in 2014, the states with the highest levels of wellbeing saw the highest percentage of new homes closing.”
Additional Healthy Home Trends
Scialla highlighted additional health trends happening in the home. Personally, he is most excited for the latest in lighting technologies and how they are able to focus on circadian rhythms.
Circadian lighting is important because it can help people sleep better in their residences.
“Circadian rhythm—our body’s sleep and wake cycle—is governed by photoreceptors in your eyes, and determined by the intensity, hue and angle of light they receive. Intense blue light wakes you up, and warmer softer light illuminates the space without having the same alerting effects,” says Scialla.
Scialla was recently at the Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Washington, DC and found the experience immensely rewarding, especially in seeing how many people were discussing the trends that WELL Building wholeheartedly aims to endorse.
“It was an honor to be surrounded by those at the forefront of the healthy building movement at Greenbuild,” says Scialla.
As we move forward into the future, builders can certainly expect elements of the WELL Building Standard to incorporate themselves more and more into the TecHome building mindset.