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The WELL Building Standard – another green building rating tool for South Africa?

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) offers a rating tool for buildings called the Well Building Standard.

The tool is focused is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness.

Launched in October 2014 after six years of research and development, the WELL Building Standard is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.

Unlike LEED and Green Building Council rating tools which focusses on green features and sustainable design, the new offering intelligently building is user focused. The tool places people at the forefront of sustainable design, construction and operations of our buildings. Human health and wellness in the built environment are used as a starting point.

Green building professionals

Green building professionals can become a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) through online study and examination. WELL offers an exam prep bundle package with practice tests to get applicants in the groove. They also offer a guide to WELL consulting upon qualifying.

The WELL Certification and the WELL AP credentialing program are third-party administered through IWBI’s collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which also administers LEED certification, the global green building program, and the LEED professional credentialing program. This relationship assures that the new standard works seamlessly with LEED.

The offering also extends to advancing health through design for entire neighbourhoods through the WELL Community Standard TM Pilot, and convening and mobilizing the wellness community through management of the WELL AP credential.

There are multiple rating tools on offer in South Africa which include LEED, The Living Building Challenge, Green Building Council Green Star Tools and now WELL. The increase in tools offered is indicative of how the industry is evolving globally and locally to define and sculpt a standard for true ‘green buildings’.

Building users in South Africa are becoming increasingly educated on how a certified green building should perform and ever sceptical of the many tools that do not offer performance reporting or independent certification.

The WELL offering brings an interesting perspective by concentrating on the well-being of the user/tenant. Time will tell if the new rating tool will be adopted and implemented in South Africa.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal  

This opinion piece was originally published on Green Building Africa website and is republished with permission and minor edits. The article can be found here

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.