Going Beyond LEED: The WELL Building Standard


Going beyond LEED

Since its launch in 2000, LEED has become the benchmark for creating sustainable structures and interiors conducive to the environment, the individual and society as a whole. Although the USGBC’s green building rating system has become the leading industry standard for conserving resources and promoting efficiency, there is now a new certification dedicated to human wellness within the built environment.

The Delos WELL Building Standard is the first certification of its kind to holistically integrate specific conditions into architecture and design in order to enhance the health and well-being of occupants. Delos developed this standard to uphold human sustainability and to transform schools, homes, offices and other indoor facilities into healthy, conscious environments. The WELL Building Standard categorizes seven systemized measures relevant to occupant health including Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind and requires a passing score in each of the categories.

“The WELL Building Standard focuses more on employees and people who occupy the building, and less on the building itself. Everything from air quality to fitness and nourishment is considered to ensure building occupants have a positive working environment.”

Kena David, Sustainability Manager, BCCI Construction Company

WELL Building Standard Mission and Values (Delos Living, LLC)

BCCI is leading the charge when it comes to the WELL Building Standard and is currently constructing the first ground-up building in California targeting WELL certification. Located at 85 Bluxome Street in the SoMa district of San Francisco, the new development also aims to achieve LEED Core & Shell v2009 Gold Certification.

“The WELL Building Standard is designed to work in conjunction with USGBC’s LEED Rating Systems in order to create a high performing building with a healthy indoor environment for the occupants.,” states Kena. “We believe the new WELL Building Standard will be adopted more quickly than LEED because of its quantifiable and measurable health standards.”

Similar to LEED certification levels, the WELL Building Standard has Silver, Gold and Platinum criterions. Each certification level is reached by achieving all Preconditions in each category, as well as a combination of the Treatments and Optimizations.

The seven categories of the WELL Building Standard are as follows:


The WELL Building Standard upholds a standard of good quality air and introduces a protocol to reduce airborne contaminants often found in a working environment. Strategic air ventilation and filtration also exalts clean air.


The WELL Building Standard ensures that high quality water is easily accessible for all building occupants. A WELL certified building must meet the threshold for quality and quantity of water.


The WELL Building Standard promotes healthy dietary choices for building inhabitants. The certification requires easy access to healthy food within the building and in the surrounding neighborhood while minimizing access to unhealthy food.


Light is essential to the body’s circadian rhythm and a lack of natural light can cause a delirious effect and reduction of a positive emotional state. The WELL Building Standard ensures a protocol for natural light in a working environment.


As we all know, exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Thus, the WELL Building Standard requires a dedicated space for exercise machines and stationary aerobics. To receive the certification, a building must also be in close proximity to a bike path or public park. The fitness category also requires the encouragement of choosing stairs over the elevator.


Being comfortable both physically and mentally in one’s workspace is critical to the human experience and is directly connected to overall health. The minimization of stress and distraction promotes the increase of work morale. The WELL certification requires the reduction of noise, EMF protection design and precise depth and resilience of flooring for heel support.


The WELL Building Standard aims to provide building occupants with proper information and knowledge of how to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Utilizing technology tools to disseminate information on best practices concerning habits, stress management and mood balance is required to achieve this standard.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on average, people spend about 90% of their lives indoors. Delos understands how crucial the indoor built environment is to the occupant health and well-being. The guidelines in the WELL Building Standard are poised to improve the way buildings are designed, built, and enjoyed post construction. The focus by Delos on seven health-centered WELL categories illustrates a holistic and progressive approach to building health, prioritizing the occupant as the first concern rather than an afterthought.

BCCI is thrilled to be participating in the pilot certification process with the 85 Bluxome office building and looks forward to assisting many more clients with WELL Certification on future projects to come.

85Bluxome_Hero_finalFor more on BCCI’s sustainable building services, click here.

We’d like to hear from you. What are you doing to go beyond LEED?







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