Tag Archives: well building standard

Health and Wellness Rating System Comparison

This very useful comparison infographic was published recently on Building Green.  Although US and LEED based, it demonstrates the scope of the emerging rating systems that address, measure and promote healthy building and facility approaches, in planning, design, construction, building in use. Note the infographic on Building Green is interactive with more information.

health-wellness

More:

Living Building Challenge 3.1 Standard

Well 2.0

Fitwel

BREEAM / Well CrossWalk 

 

Regenerative thinking embedded in new DGNB System 2017.

nature globeSustainable building certification standards are immense influencers on not only the built environment sector but also commercial, industrial and domestic green lifestyles. With that influence comes a real responsibility in establishing the current direction of travel for the industry against a backdrop of climate, economic and social change.

Get it right, and we move closer to addressing major climate change issues, attaining carbon reduction targets and achieving ecologically, economically and socially just goals. Get it wrong and the negative impact ripples far beyond our built environment sector.

It is the purpose of ‘regenerative’ certification schemes not only to identify best practice requirements for design, construction and operation, but to go way beyond current best practices and establish a vision for sustainable buildings based on future requirements — with practice then measured against that vision.

FutuREstorative Working Towards a New Sustainability makes the case for regenerative building standards, using the Living Building Challenge, Well Build Standard, One Planet Living and The Natural Step as examples. Encouragingly, news of the 2017 DGNB System update, the result of an intensive internal review, could well now join that the regenerative sustainability standards family.

The following are extracts and comments are from a DGNB System update release,  illustrating its proposed alignment with current regenerative sustainability theme:

Sustainability should not be an add-on or nice-to-have. Instead, it should be seen as an integral part of every building project. Given the number of global challenges we now face and the demands of climate change, it will become increasingly important for everyone to face up to the key topics of sustainability, especially when it comes to implementing different aspects in practice. Paying lip service to sustainability or reacting simply because it looks good for marketing purposes will no longer be accepted

Health and Wellbeing: We build for ourselves – for people who spend most of their lives in buildings. This intrinsically means that people and their need for health and wellbeing must therefore be the lynch pin – the point around which everything revolves when making all the decisions that influence planning and building

 

Circular Economy: When selecting the materials to be used in a building it is necessary to consider that one day it may be disassembled or reclaimed. The DGNB certification system thus plays an important role in ensuring that material cycles are put in place so that products can be re-used or reclaimed, along the lines of cradle-to-cradle principles.

The DGNB System is therefore the first of its kind to make circular economy principles an assessable and measurable aspect of buildings. To promote the use of new methods, such solutions are rewarded with bonuses, in turn having a positive impact on certification outcomes.

Positive Contribution: The DGNB sees design quality and Baukultur (architectural culture) as a central aspect of sustainable building.  Version 2017 …looks more closely at any factors that consider a building’s contribution to its … environment.

 

Sustainable Development Goals: In 2016, the United Nations issued its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of specific and meaningful targets aimed at shaping the future development of our planet, encouraging people to think again and thus paving the way for life in a sustainable world. The DGNB supports the UN objectives and wants to encourage others to make a tangible and positive contribution to achieving these targets through certification.  All projects that achieve DGNB certification in future will also include a statement on the extent to which they contribute towards fulfilling the SDGs

 

Life cycle assessment of entire buildings. This is captured in the DGNB System in accordance with EU standards and ranges from how materials are produced to final deconstruction. It’s important that scientifically defined benchmarks are used to calculate and optimise impacts on the environment.

 

Innovation: It is the DGNB’s goal to promote new thinking and a willingness to step outside comfort zones. It was this underlying thought that resulted in a new instrument being added to the criteria contained in Version 2017: Innovation Capacities. With immediate effect, many of the criteria have been defined in a way that should motivate planners to pursue the best possible and the most sensible solutions for their project.

RelatedA case for reconstructing the world of sustainable building standards

Taking a Living and Well Building Crosswalk

pexels-photo-305833Compliance is not a Vision – Ray Anderson

FutuREstorative explored  the case for moving towards building sustainability standards that are in their nature restorative and regenerative. That is they generate more benefit to the environment, society, community, building users and owners than simply reducing any negative impact. The four standards chosen for exploration were One Planet Living, The Natural Step, the WELL Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge.

Writing in FutuREstorative, Claire Bowles commented:

Imagine if all of the green building standards complemented each other and worked together to accelerate an overall improvement in the standard of our building stock and the quality of life for its inhabitants.

Since FutuREstorative we have seen movement in the two establishment standards (BREEAM and LEED) in seeking and agreeing alignment with elements of WELL (in the case of LEED and BREEAM) and the Living Building Challenge (with LEED)

It is encouraging to see then the recent publication of Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard – Approaches for projects seeking a dual rating. The publication cross-maps each WELL feature and LBC imperative, identifying where the mapping is complete, partial or not addressed.

Download: WELL – LBC Crosswalk Document

IWBI and ILFI recognise the complementary nature of addressing holistic environmental and social impacts within the built-environment while specifically addressing health and well-being at the organisational and occupant level. Both organisations understand the value of multiple certifications for projects addressing broad sustainability issues and strive to support those efforts.

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), have agreed to work collaboratively to promote the design, construction and operations of healthy and restorative buildings. The two organisations will work together to identify opportunities to align the two rating systems, coordinate events and education offerings, and promote building practices that significantly raise the standard of what buildings should be.

phippsFew projects have achieved both Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard. One project that has done so is the Phipps Conservatory, Center for Sustainable Landscapes. This project also has attained LEED Platinum and SITES 4 Star recognition, giving good right to call itself one the greenest buildings in the world. The projects website and LBC case study made for essential reading to further the important interface between the built and natural environments, further demonstrating that human and environmental health are inextricably connected.

About the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is the built environment’s most ambitious holistic performance standard. The program was launched in 2006 and is administered by the International Living Future Institute, a non-profit organisation offering green building and infrastructure solutions at every scale— from small renovations to whole cities. The mission of the Institute is to lead and support the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.

About the WELL Building Standard 

The WELL Building StandardTM (WELL) is the first building standard to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people in buildings. WELL is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of buildings that impact human health and well-being through seven concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing buildings and communities as vehicles to support human health and well-being.

FutuREstorative Extract in GreenBiz The Case for ReConstructing the world of Sustainable Building Standards

Healthy Buildings and Wellness: 12 Insights

Alison Nicholls, Associate Director, Constructing Excellence, put together the following, excellent summary of the recent Heathy Buildings and Wellness event held on the 31st January 2017.  The event was hosted Aecom at their Aldgate Tower offices, designed to meet the very latest standards in healthy buildings and wellness.

The business case behind healthy buildings and investing in standards such as WELL, BREEAM and the Living Building Challenge, as well as the demand for healthy buildings and the practicalities of delivery in both new and existing buildings and future implications for regulations and law were explored.

Here are the top things learnt during the workshop:

  1. Changing buildings is a great opportunity to instigate healthy changes
    Dave Cheshire from Aecom looked at how making making healthier choices easier for employees could help make them healthier, more productive and more resilient to stressful life and work events. Aecom are implementing solutions to encourage people to live well, both for their own staff and on client projects.
  2. Take the investment conversations up a level
    Dave’s top tip for making the business case was to take the conversation up a tier to those who have a more holistic view of the business investments. Engaging the Human Resources department at can help justify expenditure that might add cost to the capital budget but will save significant amounts over the long term occupation of the building.
  3. Circadian rhythms – mimicking nature
    As part of the British Antarctic Survey project Aecom looked at how intelligent lighting solutions could mimic natural daylight patterns in order to trigger the hormones that set our natural body clock. This is particularly important in a building where it’s pretty dark for six months of the year, however this learning can equally be applied to night workers or office buildings where natural light doesn’t penetrate deep into the building floor plates.
  4. People don’t always understand the risks
    Isabella Myers gave a public health perspective on the link between buildings and health and wellbeing. She flagged up the risks of delivering interventions when occupants were often resistant to changes and not necessarily convinced of the risks to their health from problems such as leaky boilers and fuel combustion. This can come in many forms including deaths from carbon monoxide and neuropsychiatric symptoms from long term exposure to toxins.
  5. Our strategies to save carbon may have made it worse
    Isabella reminded us that some of the strategies that have been employed to save energy and carbon dioxide have led to more airtight homes and buildings have caused the build-up of toxins that can impact people’s health.
  6. Healthy Buildings attract premium tenants
    Anita Mitchell Head of Sustainability for Lendlease Europe spoke about increasing market demand for healthy buildings. On a recent project in Sydney major clients in the financial services and blue-chip companies were demanding high levels of WELL Buildings Standard. Eventually this could lead to devaluing property that does not support health and wellbeing.
  7. Speculative developments can still be healthy
    The strategy to deliver WELL-Ready core and shell schemes enables tenants to implement their own health and wellbeing strategies in order to meet the WELL Building Standard.
  8. Health & Wellbeing cuts across the political divide
    Health and wellbeing impacts on social and economic sustainability, therefore both sides of the political divide can support the agenda, on the one hand it benefits society and on the other it delivers bottom-line economic benefits.
  9. Don’t forget the construction process
    Martin Brown from Fairsnape reminded us that whilst the end product needs to support wellbeing there is a requirement not to forget how the built environment is constructed, the toxicity of materials used and the people who build them. While we have made huge progress in terms of onsite health and safety, the industry has one of the highest mental health and suicide rates after agriculture.
  10. Biomimicry
    There is a lot we can learn from nature and how it functions in order to reproduce natural patterns and deliver healthier and better performing buildings. For example the Living Building Challenge certified Bullitt Centre in Seattle mimics the effect of a tree canopy to limit exposure to overheating and solar glare.
  11. Data can help
    By mapping physical data sets from BIM with biological datasets from the health sector and fitness trackers etc. a really rich picture of how buildings and the built environment are impacting on people’s health and wellbeing is emerging, and providing data for health improvement. There are lots of ways in which existing buildings can be improved to increase the health and wellbeing of the occupants. BRE is carrying out a research project on a real life Biophilic office refurbishment assessing the health and wellbeing of occupants before and after various interventions.
  12. WELL & BREEAM setting the standard
    BREEAM and WELL have been working together to establish common factors and areas of mutual recognition for elements of their respective standards. Chris Ward provided an overview of progress including an initial mapping exercise that has been published in a technical guidance document.This will lead to further collaborative work to ensure that health and wellbeing are an even more integral part of the BREEAM standard going forward.

The group will meet again in April to look at how innovative, healthy and sustainable materials are being specified and how that process can be improved to ensure that clients and specifiers increase their understanding and demand innovative products and materials.

The original constructing excellence post and presentations can be viewed here 

Related:

FutuREstorative – Working Towards a New Sustainability

WELL & BREEAM announce alignment for credits: more good or less bad?

Mindfulness, Biophilia and Salutogenesis: a powerful triptych for improving construction health and happiness

 

Every Breath We Take

The 2016 Every Breath We Take report from the Royal College of Physicians is a sobering update on human and cost consequences of poor air quality. And not only outdoor air quality, notoriously poor within many of our cities, but also consequences arising from indoor air quality, significantly triggered through the design, construction and operation of the buildings we live, work and play in.

RCPCH-1“Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with more linked also to exposure to indoor pollutants”

The report estimates that the cost to society, business and health services in the UK adds up to more than £20 billion every year.

This is a prime example of how, in the built environment we externalise the real cost of low cost construction.

The report focuses on pollutants from buildings that occur during operation, but also touches on pollutants during construction. The high volume of construction transport, predominantly diesel in addition to the pollutants known to be asthmatics, organic & mineral dust, or carcinogenic (asbestos fibres in older buildings, formaldehyde and VOCs in newer builds)

The built environment is responsible for an increasingly complex cocktail of air quality issues:

“Looking to the future, newer ‘green’ workplaces will be constructed, and newer technologies will be developed for use within them. The latter include significant developments in, for example, the use of advanced materials and three-dimensional printing. The construction, occupancy and exposure profiles of newer workplaces will lead to the potential for novel inhaled hazards and risks, and vigilance will be required in order to identify the occupational lung problems attributed to the workplaces of tomorrow”

Every Breath We Take makes a number of recommendations:

Lead by example in the NHS. Is it acceptable to design, build and maintain health facilities that themselves are not net health positive.

Quantify the relationship between indoor air pollution and health. Pressures for ever more energy efficient buildings with lower carbon footprints raise the potential of reducing air quality in homes, offices and schools. An holistic and collaborative effort is required across built environment organisations, research and health organisations to develop policies and standards.

Lessons:

Following the findings of the Every Breath We Take report, there really should be no air quality performance gap, even a small gap will result in human health issues and externalised health costs.

Adopting the increasingly popular Living Building Challenge and Well Build Standard, air quality must become a key element of performance gap analysis. Design stage set the required air quality threshold that is validated post construction, with a fully occupied facility over a 12 month proofing period, and the on a regular on going basis. Established standards such as BREEAM and LEED must make award of certification dependent on proven air quality.

This is a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) issue of high magnitude for those who commission buildings, those who design and construction and those who manage buildings, anything less can not be acceptable to a responsible built environment sector.

Based on extract from FutuREstorative

 

Lendlease: Accelerating Wellbeing in Built Environment

In November 2015, Lendlease, one of the world’s leading integrated infrastructure and real estate groups, announced a global alliance with Delos, aiming to accelerate the integration of human health and wellness outcomes in the built environment. This alliance will include identifying pioneering projects in Australia, Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States, which will pursue WELL Certification and provide ‘WELL ready’ workplaces for tenants.

Untitled 5Geoff Dutaillis, group head of sustainability at Lendlease said, “Supporting the next generation of buildings and places that get it right for people, as well as the environment is very important….The built environment has a critical role to play in helping cities and governments transition towards a low carbon future; however, it’s the direct impact on human capital and productivity through increased focus on supporting human health and wellbeing which is the untapped potential.”*

The WELL Building Standard is the first protocol of its kind to focus on “improving human wellness within the built environment by identifying specific conditions that, when holistically integrated into building interiors, enhance the health and wellbeing of the occupants.” The WELL Building Standard is a performance-focused system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing including air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and importantly mind.

Wellness and Happiness: The Next Built Environment / CSR Frontier 

WELL Building Institute launches pilot programs for new sectors.

Designing Buildings Wiki: Well Building Standard 

WELL Building Institute launches pilot programs for new sectors.

Buildings should be developed with people’s health and wellness at the centre of design.

Untitled 5In a recent Press Release IWBI (International Well Building Institute) is calling for organisations to participate in its next stage of development and to pilot the Well Building Standard.  Invites are called for from the retail, multifamily residential, education, restaurant and commercial kitchen sectors.

IWBI Founder Paul Scialla  said “The pilot programs will help us spur innovation and bring us even closer to fully integrating WELL into all sectors of the built environment.”

“The WELL pilot programs will allow participants to be the first to engage at the cutting edge of the sustainability and healthy building movement. IWBI will collect information from participants and industry experts to further refine the standards prior to publication. Upon completion of the pilot program, each standard will move out of the pilot phase and become integrated into the core features of WELL.”

For information or to download the pilot standards, visit www.wellcertified.com/well. Once a project has officially applied to the pilot program through WELL Online, IWBI will contact the project team to arrange an initial evaluation of the project to ensure that it fits the specifications, and provide assistance throughout the pilot certification process.

The Well building standard has great alignment with the Living Building Challenge and was featured at our recent Green Vision / Living Building Challenge Health, Happiness and Mindfulness event in May with myself and  Vicki Lockhart, (@vicki572) Arup (WELL AP) See Healthy Buildings to Healthy Minds – joining the dots at Green Vision

More: The WELL pilot programs will allow participants to be the first to engage at the cutting edge of the sustainability and healthy building movement. IWBI will collect information from participants and industry experts to further refine the standards prior to publication. Upon completion of the pilot program, each standard will move out of the pilot phase and become integrated into the core features of WELL.

WELL is the world’s first building standard focused exclusively on human health and wellness. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and wellbeing.

WELL is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants.

The WELL Building Standard is the culmination of seven years of research, in partnership with leading scientists, doctors, architects and wellness thought leaders. Pilot programs are now available for projects in the following categories:

  1. Retail: Retail applies to locations where consumers can view and purchase merchandise onsite, and where staff are employed to assist in the sale of products. The Retail pilot standard is applicable to owner- and tenant-occupied projects, and to those in both stand-alone buildings and those integrated into larger structures.
  2. Multifamily Residential: Multifamily Residential applies specifically to projects with at least five dwelling units in a single building with common structural elements. Projects that qualify include apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and other residential complexes within all market thresholds – affordable housing, market-rate and luxury.
  3. Education: Educational Facilities applies to projects where dedicated staff is employed for instructional purposes, and students may be of any age. Courses may cover any range of topics, and facilities may be typified by fully scheduled days or distinct classes in which students enroll at will.
  4. Restaurant: Restaurants applies to locations where a consumer can purchase food and dine onsite, including indoor or outdoor seating. The establishment may be either self-serve or include wait staff that tend to consumers. The Restaurant pilot standard does not include take-out only establishments or establishments whose primary source of revenue derives from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Further, the Restaurant pilot standard only applies to dining spaces—it does not cover kitchens in which food is prepared.
  5. Commercial Kitchen: Commercial Kitchens applies to locations where cooks prepare food for other building users. It is not applicable to office kitchenettes or home kitchens. In general, spaces subject to local health inspection are likely to use this Pilot Addendum. Commercial Kitchen is always paired with another standard, such as Restaurant or Education.

All pilot programs were developed as an adaptation of WELL v1.0. Using v1.0 as a baseline, relevant features from v1.0 were incorporated into each pilot, while features that only apply to commercial and institutional spaces were removed. Certain features were also adapted, so that their intent remains the same but the details are different. Prior to being finalized, all pilots will complete a thorough and transparent peer review process with scientific, practitioner and medical experts. During this process, expert feedback from leading researchers and industry practitioners will help refine each pilot for its final release.

Pilot projects are eligible to achieve Silver, Gold or Platinum level pilot certification, following the same method as WELL v1.0. Through IWBI’s collaboration with the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), projects receive third-party certification by GBCI.

About the International WELL Building Institute™ The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation (B-Corp) whose mission is to improve human health and wellbeing through the built environment. B-Corps like IWBI are an emerging U.S. structure for corporations committed to balancing public benefits with profitability – harnessing the power of private capital for greater good.

IWBI administers the WELL Building Standard® (WELL) – a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of buildings that impact the health and wellbeing of the people who live, work, and learn in them. Fulfilling the vision of IWBI Founder Paul Scialla, IWBI has a pioneering altruistic capitalism model that will address social responsibility and demonstrate a sustainable model for philanthropy.

IWBI has committed to direct 51 percent of net profits received from WELL Certification project fees toward charitable contributions and impact investment focused on health, wellness, and the built environment. IWBI was established by Delos in 2013 pursuant to a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to improve the way people live by developing spaces that enhance occupant health and quality of life by sharing the WELL Building Standard globally. WELLcertified.com

About the WELL Building Standard® The WELL Building Standard® (WELL) is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact the health and wellbeing of the people who live, work, and learn in the buildings.

WELL focuses on seven categories of building performance: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Pioneered by Delos, the WELL Building Standard is grounded in evidence-based medical research that demonstrates the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time and health and wellness impacts on us as occupants.

The WELL Building Standard is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ and third-party certified by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). WELLcertified.com ### Press Contact: Taryn Holowka taryn.holowka@wellcertified.com 202.828.1144

Rethinking Water, Reclaiming Water #WorldWaterDay

This year the World Economic Forum identified “water” as one of the top 5 biggest societal and economic risks for the next 10 years. Climate change is affecting the water cycle, with water variability increasing and extreme events (floods and droughts) becoming more common and increasingly costly. The impact that the built environment has on water management in just about every other sector is significant, making water performance of buildings a corporate or social responsibility issue.

Here in the UK we may not have the acute water issues as for example being experienced in Perth or in California where they have less than a year’s supply of water. This shortage is due to a number of reasons such as removing water from the aquifers and not returning it (or indeed returning it treated with chemicals, and the reduced levels of snowpack, acute this year, that top up these aquifers)

Yet, in the UK we are experiencing floods and water shortages, restrictions and droughts more frequently, so rethinking water, in design, in construction and in building operations can only be a good thing.

The UK Living Building Challenge Collaborative has been exploring the Challenges’ Water Imperative and developing an overlay or interpretation guide for UK projects and clients looking to adopt Living Building Challenge approaches.

The Water Petal intent is to To meet all water demands within the carrying capacity of the site and to mimic natural hydrological conditions, using appropriately-sized and climate-specific water management systems that treat, infiltrate or reuse all water resources on-site.

Lets unpick that a little …

“Water Demands” One theme emerging, from the work of this group and my visit to a number of LBC projects in the Pacific NW is that we need to rethink water and the performance of buildings in water management, giving it the same focus as we do energy. Not to see water as an additional design criteria, but to be at the core of design, calculating and seeking ways top reduce water load, as we would with energy.

Reducing ‘water load’ for a building use can be achieved through waterless or composting WC’s such as those in the Bullitt Centre or though recycled water systems such as the busy VanDusen botanical garden visitor Centre in Vancouver.

13.2-ReclaimedWater“All water” – the CIRS building at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver – a sustainability research lab – is utilizing a Solar Aquatic System designed to mimic the purification processes of naturally occurring water systems in close proximity to human inhabitation, such as streams and wetlands, to produce clean water for use in the building

“Net Positive” – LBC projects will be water net-positive, for example, via the large underground (56k gallon water tank)  the Bullitt Centre can survive for 104 days without accessing mains water, the CIRS building can supply grey water to adjacent buildings.

“Reuse” Good buildings will recycle and reuse grey water more than once using natural systems. And without using materials deemed ‘toxic”, i.e. those on the Living Building Challenge’s Red List such as Chlorine and PVC. On a domestic level, water reclaiming systems such as Nexus eWater are enabling the recycling of rain water and grey water many times in a domestic closed loop system

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Systems that treat Good buildings will treat all water on site, ensuring no leachates and other nasty’s run off into the ground, into water systems, just as trees do, and as trees did that most likely stood on the site in the past, ensuring the aquifers remained as pure as possible.

 

 

IMG_2008

Thinking beyond SUDS, Constructed wetlands can and arguably should be incorporated into the structure of the building as well as being part of the landscaping.

Viewing buildings as a system of interconnected buildings is key to integrated design, rather than seeing each as stand-alone buildings. Here great synergies can be gained, moving reclaimed or harvested water from one building to another to meet need, using buildings as storage or as filters for others.

 

Construction phase … projects can develop water hierarchies, as we do waste and energy hierarchies, perhaps with a water plan, addressing the question “Why do we use drinking quality water for washing down site plant, keeping dust down etc.”

And to FM and building operations – spreading the water conservation message, through signage and through occupant ‘charters’ can all help gain respect for special water technologies within the facility. Going further Catering and food outlets could serve two vegetarian meals for every one meat – as the CIRS building does – to reinforce the vastly different quantities of water required to provide meat produce and veg / fruit produce (not to mention energy and travel impact)

And, on drinking water The WELL Building Standard for Water requires and promotes safe and clean water through proper filtration and other methods, requiring the appropriate quality of water for various uses. Again without harmful chemicals or materials.

IMG_2035So on World Water Day, a call to UK universities with a strong built environment and sustainability programme and values. Make your next university estates project a sustainable water building, along the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge, as a research project as the CIRS building does, or as a demonstration of what is possible – core to the Bullitt Centre remit. Influencing and inspiring the next generation of built environment professionals is so important.

“The era of harm reduction, half steps, and lesser evils is behind us. As a society, we need to be bold in ways that were once unimaginable. Luckily in the building sector, we now can imagine where we need to go”

If you would like more information on the work of the UK Living Building Challenge or indeed on the standard itself, please get contact me on fairsnape@gmail.com or Donna on d.m.lee@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or indeed follow us on twitter @fairsnape and @livingbldgUK

EcoBuild launch a vision for a Built Environment future …

Ecobuild, in association with Building has published ‘Future of the Built Environment’ as part of the launch for EcoBuild 2015.  The white paper, a collection of thought pieces from leading industry players, assesses the future of the sector, painting a very useful picture for a not-so-far into the future built environment.

It is set of future scenarios, encompassing beauty, circular economy, health, equity and eco systems. And in this respect closer to the regenerative sustainability philosophy of Living Building Challenge and the Well Building Standard than it is of current, more energy performance focused BREEAM and Regulations.

Jane Henley, Chief Executive Officer, World Green Building Council sees the next chapter for green building as one of health, wellbeing and productivity, arguing that business may be less interested in the mechanical and energy issues of a building than they are on how investing in better indoor environments will lead to better returns on their greatest asset: people

Rick Willmott, Chief Executive, Willmott Dixon sees a contracting future as one of climate adaption, carbon targets and collaborative construction with a leadership that ‘digs deeper’. The circular economy will be key, offering industry tremendous opportunities. Willmott cites the rising energy costs and depletion of finite natural resources that will lead to a mushrooming market for recycled materials, and a move to designing buildings with deconstruction in mind from the outset.

Munish Datta, Head of Plan A & Facilities Management, Marks & Spencer sees the future being about beautiful buildings, “We spend 90% of our time in buildings so why shouldn’t they be beautiful”, delivered from an industry that is holistic,where every role, from developers to facilities management, is incentivised to design, build, operate and re-use buildings for their life.

Paul King, Chief Executive Officer, UK Green Building Council sees that there is a great deal a new government, of whatever hue, can do to create the conditions in which a sustainable built environment industry can thrive. It can save more money than it needs to spend, it can set clear and consistent policy direction, and it can lead by example. “Frankly, to do anything else would be to squander an opportunity for growth the UK simply cannot afford”

Sarah Richardson, Editor, Building, sees the sector on the cusp of a radical transformation, with a growing sense that new technologies are not just an optional extras but key to delivering necessary efficiencies. However, to realise any transformation, a shift in the demographic of the sector itself is required, to attract a broader mix of talent that can imagine a future free from the constraints of the past.

Peter Caplehorn, Deputy CEO, Construction Products Association sees a key challenge for the industry being to get out of buildings the performance we design into them

Ike Ijeh, Architectural Critic, Building and Building Design describes  a future sustainable environment as one which has established a holistic vision for integrated urban development where every aspect of the city is specifically planned and designed to maximise social, economic and environmental benefits for its inhabitants while at the same time minimising its ecological footprint. The city itself no longer relies on an ecosystem, it becomes one.

Recommended reading for all in the sector, the EcoBuild paper can be downloaded from here

Wellness and Happiness: The Next Built Environment / CSR Frontier

Update 30/11/16  BREEAM and WELL Alignment review – more good or less bad?

Update 27/10/14:  The International WELL Building Institute launched the WELL Building Standard Version 1.0, as a publicly available standard which focuses on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the built environment, at the inaugural WELL Building Symposium in New Orleans. The WELL Building Standard v1.0 can be applied to new construction and major renovations of commercial and institutional buildings, tenant improvements, and core and shell developments.

Original post …

Salutogenesis – a term we should become familiar with.

It describes an approach that focuses on factors that promote human health and wellness, rather than on factors that prevent disease and ill health (I am indebted to my partner Prof. Soo Downe for introducing me to this concept from the world of childbirth and health, but that has profound implications for built environment sustainability)

And whilst wellness and health is a relatively new emergent for CSR – the built environment is now right at the center. Designing and constructing sustainable buildings isn’t rocket science, we have the methodology and technology, but designing and constructing buildings that improve wellness and health, not just reduce the negative impact on health, is the next frontier for the built environment sector.

It is one that requires different design thinking, requires collaboration with others in the health sector, and it appears to be rising rapidly on the CSR agenda. For example,

  • “Companies that ignore the environmental and social impacts of their buildings could risk miserable workers and low productivity,” Russ Blinch wrote in Guardian Sustainable Business
  • Scandinavian firm Sustainia has based its Guide to Co-Creating Health report on the correlation between what’s good for the planet is what’s good for you — and that healthy people are the single most important resource within the transition to a sustainable future.
  • Increasing the safety of buildings; promoting safe, careful use and management of toxic substances at home and in the workplace; and better water resource management are three of WHO’s 10 facts on preventing disease through healthy environments.
  • Nonprofit BSR argues in A New CSR Frontier: Business and Population Health that companies have yet to realise the full potential of extending health and sustainability initiatives across their entire value chains to include suppliers, local communities and the general public

The Built Environment Sector

And there is encouraging and inspiring approaches emerging from within the built environment sector itself, for example:

  • The WELL Building Standard is the first protocol of its kind to focus on “improving human wellness within the built environment by identifying specific conditions that, when holistically integrated into building interiors, enhance the health and wellbeing of the occupants.” The WELL Building Standard is a performance-focused system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing including air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and importantly mind.
  • Workplace Productivity and Health from the World Green Build Council reports on the emerging body of evidence suggesting that the physical characteristics of buildings and indoor environments can influence worker productivity and occupant health and well-being, making a robust business case for health, wellbeing and productivity improvements in green buildings.

While these are welcome signs, we need to be cautious of building approaches that focus solely on energy performance without considering occupant long term health.

Setting it apart from the more established building certification schemes, the Living Building Challenge from the International Living Futures Institute, a regenerative sustainability approach that falls in line with my definition of salutogenesis – focusing on doing more good, not ‘just’ less bad – majors on health across its petals and imperatives.

For example, the Red List of Materials, (within the LBC) takes a precautionary principle approach, (if there is any doubt a material or design may have any negative impact on health we should not be using it), It encourages biophilia thinking in design, (ie the health benefits arising from association with nature), along with air quality, natural daylight and more

Greening the Construction Office

And it’s not just a design issue for the built environment, but one that construction organisations are in need of addressing. For example temporary office and working accommodation for construction projects can benefit greatly from a health and wellness approach. Recently U.K. Building Editor Sarah Richardson discussed the problems of stress and ill health in construction workplaces, not a new issue as The Health and Safety Executive found in 2007. With 88 percent of those working in U.K. construction experiencing some kind of work-related stress, perhaps it’s not surprising considering the often-dire site office accommodations.

In fact, when was the last time we saw any thought given to health issues, effective daylight and fresh air or greenery within the office?

Martin, through Fairsnape is a built environment consultant, strategist and advocate for sustainability, CSR, social media and collaboration. He provides commentary on the sector at http://www.fairnsape.com.

This article was originally written for CSRWire