What you need to know about LEED and WELL certification

How much do you know about building certifications? Whilst we aren’t certified providers, we are exceptionally well-versed in the requirements. Certification isn’t something you need to stress about, but it should absolutely be on your radar for any build, refit, or refurbishment. Let us share our expertise with you – it’s all part of our collaborative approach. We’re here to help you navigate the certifications and their expectations, and we can create an office space for you that will do more than comply; the space will showcase the benefits of a workspace working harder.

Guidelines, benchmarks, frameworks – whatever you call them – exist so that sustainability, health, and the overall quality of a building and its design can be assessed and recognised.

What is LEED certification?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It’s a green building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides a framework for sustainable design and construction. Achieving LEED certification recognises being environmentally responsible, resource-efficient, and healthy places to live and work.

With that said, chances are you want to achieve LEED certification. To do so, you’ll need to meet certain expectations and earn a certain minimum number of credits in the following categories:

Sustainable Site Development: site selection, development density and community connectivity, brownfield redevelopment, alternative transportation, site development, and stormwater management.

Water Efficiency: water use reduction, efficient landscaping, innovative wastewater technologies, and water metering.

Energy and Atmosphere: energy performance, renewable energy, enhanced commissioning, and refrigerant management.

Materials and Resources: sustainable building materials and products, waste management, construction and demolition waste management, and building reuse.

Indoor Environmental Quality: indoor air quality, low-emitting materials, daylight and views, thermal comfort, and acoustics.

Innovation: innovative sustainable design strategies not covered by the other categories.

Your total number of credits determines your level of certification: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points), or Platinum (80+ points). The question is, how committed are you to sustainability?

LEED is a mark of excellence in sustainable design and construction. But it’s not the only certification to be aware of.

What is WELL certification?

The WELL Building Standard promotes human health and wellness in the built environment. It was developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and evaluates factors relating to human health.

What would achieving WELL certification look like? You’d need to consider requirements for design, construction, and operation of buildings to promote the health and wellness of their occupants across seven categories – they’re sometimes known as concepts, too – called Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. You’ll be awarded points, and each is weighted differently. Let’s take a look at them:

Air focuses on improving indoor air quality to reduce the risk of respiratory and other health problems. Think ventilation rates, air filtration, and the use of low-emitting materials. Regular air quality testing ensures your fit-out maintains high indoor air quality standards.

Water quality is another important factor, including drinking water, filtration, and treatment of non-potable water sources. It also encourages using water-efficient fixtures and appliances to reduce water consumption and waste.

Light focuses on natural daylight and minimising glare for visual comfort and circadian rhythms. A good example is the use of lighting systems that mimic natural light.

Comfort may initially seem self-explanatory, but it includes thermal comfort, acoustic comfort, and ergonomic design. Together, we’ll need to think about temperature, humidity, acoustics, and workstation design and seating for comfort and productivity.

Nourishment focuses on encouraging healthy eating habits and access to nutritious food options. This means healthy food and beverages, plus nutrition education and support programs.

Fitness encourages physical activity and exercise to improve overall health and wellness. When designing your space, we’ll look at fitness amenities and policies that promote physical activity, such as walking or cycling to work.

Last but by no means least, Mind covers stress reduction, relaxation, and mindfulness. To achieve high points, you’ll need spaces and programs that promote mental health and wellbeing, such as quiet spaces, meditation rooms, and stress-reduction programs.

The WELL Building Standard is valuable for promoting and showcasing human health and wellness in office fit-out projects. Are you committed to creating healthier, more productive work environments for your employees? When you work with us, we’ll determine your project’s sustainability targets at the very start. We can even help you become more aspirational in what you can achieve. We always consider your needs and budget.

Get in touch today to learn more or discuss what certification could benefit your project (and your workforce).