The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. It focuses on seven key areas: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind, and was developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). It was developed because the way buildings impact human health and wellbeing has never been more evident or more important. With the support of the WELL Building Standard, spaces can be created to enhance these elements rather than hinder them.

WELL version two (v2) seeks to support occupant health and wellbeing by adhering to the following principles:

  • Equitable: Aims to benefit a variety of people, especially disadvantaged or vulnerable populations.
  • Global: Proposes interventions that are feasible, achievable and relevant across many global applications.
  • Evidence-based: Utilizes a diverse body of research across varying disciplines, validated by a collaborative body of experts.
  • Technically robust: Defines industry best practices and validates strategies via performance verification and third-party verification. u Customer-focused: Sponsors the success of WELL users through dedicated coaching services, dynamic resources and an intuitive platform.
  • Resilient: Keeps pace with advances and improves by integrating new findings.

WELL states that clean air is a critical component to better occupant health, wellbeing and productivity. Thus, the WELL Air concept aims to achieve high levels of indoor air quality (IAQ) across a building’s lifetime. This is done through diverse strategies that include source elimination or reduction, active and passive building design and operation strategies and human behavior interventions. In WELL, increased ventilation is vital for enhancing IAQ. It states that pollution source avoidance, proper ventilation and air filtration are some of the most effective means of achieving high IAQ. Consequently, WELL incorporates an “Enhanced Ventilation” feature with the goal of expelling internally generated pollutants and improving IAQ. This is done through an increased supply of outdoor air or increased ventilation efficiency.

WHY & ERVs: WELL recommends increased ventilation for enhancing IAQ, but this can cause conventional HVAC systems to consume more energy, thus escalating costs. The better option for improving IAQ energy efficiently, cost effectively and sustainably is via energy recovery ventilators (ERVs). ERVs precondition the outdoor air coming in with the otherwise-wasted exhaust air’s heat and humidity. This leads to substantial reductions in indoor air contaminants, energy and costs. Thus, ERVs can play an integral role in enabling buildings to realize both the IAQ and energy efficiency requirements in the WELL Building Standard. Indeed, by using RenewAire ERVs, ventilation costs can be reduced by up to 60%.