Are green buildings doing anything for the humans using it?  

 The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) believes that buildings should be developed with people’s health and wellness at the centre of design. Walls & Roofs delves further into the WELL Building Standard with Michelle Ludwig, principal at Ludwig Design Consulting 

 WELL Building Standard® 

The standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being. It is grounded in a body of medical research into architecture for people, exploring the impact of buildings on health and wellness. 

 Seven concepts 

WELL measures attributes of buildings that impact occupant health by looking at seven factors, or concepts:  

AIR  Optimises and achieves indoor air quality. Strategies include the removal of airborne contaminants, prevention and purification. 
WATER  Optimises water quality while promoting accessibility. Strategies include the removal of contaminants through filtration and treatment, and strategic placement. 
NOURISHMENT  Encourages healthy eating habits by providing occupants with healthier food choices, behavioural cues and knowledge about nutrient quality. 
LIGHT  Requirements for window performance and design, light output and lighting controls, and task-appropriate illumination levels to improve energy, mood and productivity, and minimise disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm. 
FITNESS  Utilises building design technologies and knowledge-based strategies to encourage physical activity. Requirements are designed to provide numerous opportunities for activity and exertion, enabling occupants to accommodate fitness regimens within their daily schedule. 
COMFORT  Creates an indoor environment that is distraction-free, productive and soothing. Solutions include design standards and recommendations, to control thermal and acoustic parameters that are known sources of discomfort. 
MIND  Supports mental and emotional health, providing the occupants with regular feedback and knowledge about their environment through design elements, relaxation spaces and state-of-the-art technology. 

 Sustainable design ideas 

  • Provide healthy choices for people. A total of 70% of people are sedentary and 36% are overweight – they are aware of it and need help with it. Active design and furnishings are key, thinking how to influence movement within the office to encourage walking or taking the stairs instead of waiting for a lift. 
  • Biophilic design received a lot of attention during the pandemic and is not a new concept. However, the importance of bringing nature into the spaces where people are spending most of their time is very important when fostering wellness. 
  • Products and materials should be chosen for their transparency about what is in them through environmental product declarations (EPD) and health product declarations (HPD). 
  • Design for all, both for permanent disabilities such as blindness and for temporary conditions such as people with crutches, or pregnant women. 
  • Green certifications and frameworks guide and support the move towards healthier spaces for those who use them.  

Issue: Addressing the health and wellness of people in the built environment. 

Solution: WELL Certified™ spaces can help improve nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns and the performance of building occupants. 


For more information, contact Ludwig Design Consultants: 




Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial. Download the WELL standard: 

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