How WELL Buildings Can Improve Your Health & Happiness
Next time you walk into your building whether it is at home or at work, pause a moment and try to take in how that building makes you feel as you step inside. Is it a healthy place to be?
For example, you could consider some of these things; is the air clean or is it stuffy? Is it too hot or too cold? Is the water fresh and do you want to eat healthily or take exercise there? Is it uncomfortable to work or relax? Does it make you feel lethargic or depressed to be inside?
In essence, does your environment consider your health and wellbeing?
On average we spend 90% of our time indoors so it is hardly surprising that the way buildings are designed, constructed and maintained can impact hugely on our health and wellbeing.
In response to these issues the WELL Building Standard uses innovative research from the worlds of health, science, design and architecture to redefine the standards of our built environment, and promotes strategies to advance health, happiness, mindfulness and productivity in our buildings and communities. The ultimate aim is to improve health and wellness outcomes; for example, in commercial buildings and businesses this could lead to improvements in things like employee productivity, engagement and retention.
The invisible elements of our urban lives; air, water, light and sound are the luxuries we seek when we escape the urban environment; the holistic approach of WELL aims to restore these elements to our living and working areas, supporting our natural rhythms.
The seven elements considered by the WELL Building Standard are illustrated below:
AIR Polluted air is the number one environmental cause of premature mortality. WELL requires optimal air quality, reducing or minimizing the sources of indoor air pollution.
WATER Being dehydrated by just 2% has been shown to impair cognitive performance. WELL promotes high quality water and improved accessibility
NOURISHMENT Poor nutrition is a major contributor to preventable chronic disease. WELL buildings limit the presence of unhealthy ingredients and can encourage better eating habits.
LIGHT Disruptions to the body’s circadian rhythm are associated with chronic diseases. WELL maximizes benefits from daylight and lighting systems designed to increase alertness, enhance experience and promote sleep.
FITNESS Physical inactivity is highly prevalent worldwide with 23% of adults failing to meet international guidelines. WELL buildings promote integration of exercise and fitness into everyday life
COMFORT Work-related musculoskeletal disorders result in medical costs and lost productivity and distracting noise can contribute up to a 66% decline in performance. WELL considers thermal, acoustic, ergonomic and olfactory comfort to optimize indoor working environments.
MIND Various environmental characteristics can have direct impacts on mental health and wellbeing, such as noise, indoor air quality and light. WELL optimizes cognitive and emotional health through design, technology and treatment strategies.
Implementing building standards considering a combination of all of these features can have an incredibly positive impact on those living or working in the space, harmonizing the systems of the body with the home and workplace. The standards are applicable to every built environment from residential to commercial but also in centers where large numbers of people group together such as healthcare, retail, restaurants, schools, athletic facilities and family centers.
Liquid interiors are specialists in WELL building design and we aim to introduce the basic concepts of WELL Building Standard and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) to our clients so that they can benefit from a healthy interior as well as discover how to live more harmoniously with the environment. Last week, through our Facebook and Instagram accounts we introduced the seven wellness concepts that drive the WELL Building Standard. For the coming weeks, we will dig deeper on the importance of each element.
For more information, feel free to contact Liquid Interiors, your healthy and eco conscious interior design consultants.