What Is The WELL Building Standard?

The standard ascribes each design factor to the parts of the human body system that are directly influenced by those factors. For example, WBS states that Surface Design factors, all affected by light patterning, influence the endocrine, muscular and nervous systems.

The WBS, produced by Delos Living LLC of New York, encourages performance metrics and design strategies to be embraced not only by the entire design and construction project teams but also by the resident building managers.While building standards have turned increasingly green over the past decade, little has been done to quantify the ‘wellness’ of the building from the point of view of its occupants.

WBS is designed to work alongside the LEED Green Building Rating System and other global green building standards such as BREEAM and it can be applied to new and existing buildings, new and existing interiors and shell and core projects.

As would be expected in any system taking a holistic view of health and wellbeing there is an entire performance matrix for a functioning building, taking in air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

When it comes to light section, WBS ‘provides illumination guidelines that are aimed to minimise disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity, support good sleep quality and provide appropriate visual acuity where needed’.

There are ten headline issues:


Electric light glare control

Acknowledges that excessive brightness can cause visual discomfort, leading to fatigue, visual impairment and potential injury.

Solar glare control

Provides solutions for managing disruptive glare from sunlight via windows.

Low-glare workstation design

Considered spatial orientation to control excessive brightness at work stations.

Colour quality

Identifies the use of the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) to ensure good colour quality, supporting visual acuity and accurate rendering of colour tones.

Visual lighting design

Establishes light levels for basic visual performance, acknowledging the balance of ambient and task illumination.

Circadian lighting design

Concentrates on the impact of melanopic light and the way that illumination meets the eye.

Surface design

Establishes parameters for the reflective quality of surfaces within the interior landscape, promoting higher reflectance values as a means of reducing energy consumption and potential contrast glare.

Automated shading and dimming controls

Discusses the introduction of automatic control of lighting systems and shading devices as a means to promote visual comfort within the space.


Daylighting fenestration

This building will stand 278m tall, with 62 storeys and will be the tallest in the City of London.com) there are seven WELL projects in the UK, all in London, the largest of which is at 22 Bishopsgate.wellcertified. Ironically, there have been objections from local property owners due to the potential loss of light to neighbouring buildings.According to the WELL website (www.

Surprisingly, there is no advice given for the use of melanopic illumination or the desired exposure of melanopic illumination during the working day beyond the ‘4 hours per day’.

It will be interesting to see who takes the principle responsibility for ensuring that interior illumination is met in respect of architectural components.There are also performance requirements for daylighting and window design.

Provides percentage values on window sizes to ensure sufficient access to natural light to support occupant mood, alertness and overall health.

This is a brave declaration of intent in an area of building and interior design that has been very poor in real advice while overflowing in hyperbole and unsubstantiated opinion.

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