The WELL Building Standard is a global rating system that uses a point-based framework of best-practice policies to assess the impact of the built environment on human health. WELL was founded by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation with a mission to improve occupant wellbeing in buildings and communities. Merging scientific and medical research with popular methodologies in design, construction, and management, WELL enables organizations to enhance building performance, improve human comfort, encourage responsible decision-making, and promote wellness at scale.
WELL pinpoints ten core concept areas: air, water, nourishment, access to light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. Each area contains a set of mandatory preconditions—prerequisites for any WELL-certified project—that form the foundation for a healthy building. In addition to preconditions, areas include possible optimization features, each of which is assigned a point value. While it’s not compulsory to comply with all of these, projects must earn points by satisfying select optimization pathways. Based on the number of points earned, projects may qualify for one of three certification levels: WELL Silver Certification requires 50 points, WELL Gold Certification requires 60 points, and WELL Platinum Certification requires 80 points.
WELL projects are evaluated through onsite performance-based testing protocols. The Green Business Certification Incorporation (GBCI), which also administers LEED certification and credentialing, is the sole provider of testing services and training for WELL Performance Testing Organizations. These tests measure air and water quality, and lighting and acoustic parameters, among other considerations.
In its pilot phase, the WELL Community Standard applies the principles established by the WELL Building Standard to public spaces and other facets of community life.