Atamate add WELL AP to our credentials

Atamate add WELL AP to our credentials

In the last couple of years it has been difficult to miss the bombardment of adverts, articles and commentary about our own and our society’s ‘wellbeing’. What has been more tricky has been trying to understand what this means for us as individuals and how improving our wellbeing can be a change for good. Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” but it seems to have been expanded out to include how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole. 

While it seems easy to agree that wellbeing is something we should all strive for, how can we measure it, support it, and how does it relate to our main focus - buildings? 90% of our time is spent indoors: the quality of our buildings can impact our productivity and the way we feel. So how can the way we design and create indoor spaces impact on the well-being of not only the occupants and users of that building, but also the communities they are a part of? This is the question that the International WELL Building Institute aims to answer.

So why is this relevant to intelligent buildings and building services controls? And why are we now WELL qualified?

When we look at designing a building that is efficient and cost effective, there are 3 areas that need to be considered;

  • The occupants
  • The services
  • The fabric.

These need to all be considered as a whole, and not in silos - the design of a building needs to address all three in order to be energy efficient and provide a space that is appropriate for those living, working or visiting it. Atamate has always put occupancy led control at the centre of our offering, which aligns with the WELL standard that focuses on a human, occupant centric approach to the building. By using this angle alongside a more traditional engineering approach to building services, it gives businesses the ability to quantify and measure wellbeing. 

What is the WELL Standard?

The  International WELL Building Institute describes the WELL Standard as “a vehicle for buildings and organisations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being”.  

Within the WELL Standard there are 10 Concepts, each of which has preconditions and optimisations. These cover all aspects of people's interactions with buildings. Each concept covers a specific area and the precondition and optimisation features within cover a distinct health intent.

Table 1. The WELL Concepts

The WELL Concepts

Air

Thermal Comfort

Water

Sound

Movement

Materials

Light

Mind

Nourishment

Community

 

Achieving all preconditions is mandatory, and additional points are awarded if optimisations are also met. Certification is awarded after a building has been assessed in operation. A building cannot get certified unless it meets all the performance metrics in use.

The drive towards healthy buildings

According to research completed by Vertinex, when looking at how to implement a healthy buildings strategy, building owners objectives are threefold;

  • Reduce costs
  • Improve health and safety 
  • Decarbonising estate.

To achieve this they are looking at 3 main areas;

1. Occupant health

  • Wellbeing
  • Disease management

2. Employee experience

  • Hybrid/flexible working
  • Engagement and productivity

3. Facilities management

  • Decarbonise
  • Improve sustainability
  • Reduce costs.

There are a number of hurdles to achieving a healthy building strategy;

  • Identify and quantify Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Investment incentives for landlords are not clear
  • Poorly equipped buildings - many need high capital expenditure to upgrade.

When combining the data and control that an Atamate can provide, combined with the structure and reporting that WELL achieves, there are paths to overcome each of these hurdles.

WELL uses ‘in use’ measurements to ensure that buildings that reach their standard continue to perform as designed. This means that sensor and laboratory data needs to be collected regularly so that performance can be measured and reported. The data includes;

  • Air quality - organic and inorganic gases; particulates
  • Water quality - dissolved chemicals, suspended solids
  • Thermal comfort - temperature, humidity
  • Light attributes - light intensity, spectral power distribution.

Why WELL?

WELL accreditation and atBOS control can drive value in a number of ways.

Maximise value for building owners

Building owners are seeking WELL Certification to attract & retain high-quality tenants, maximise financial performance of rental rates and resale value, minimise risk of incidents and obsolescence and improve shareholder relations by increasing their GRESB scores for health and well-being. There is also a value in the competitive differentiation and marketing narrative that WELL provides them.

Supporting ESG goals

WELL, provides pathways for leaders at all levels to create spaces that prioritise employee health and well-being and to embed people-first strategies into organisational culture. By providing a method to measure and report on human and social capital metrics, WELL makes transparent and standardised disclosure easy. It can help streamline ESG and sustainability reporting by aligning with leading ESG frameworks, green rating systems and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Employee satisfaction and retention

Physical workplace is one of the top three factors affecting performance and job satisfaction. Personnel costs significantly outweigh the costs for design and construction and maintenance and operations. Addressing occupant health channels resources towards reducing the largest line item in the 30-year costs of a building – the personnel – offering a meaningful return on investment.

Employers look to achieve WELL Certification to attract & retain high-quality employees, maximise employee performance and productivity, reduce impacts of presenteeism and absenteeism and promote improved health for employees. They also enjoy the brand equity they earn from being leaders in their industry and the associated marketing value of the media exposure.

Improved functionality

A WELL building functions optimally thanks to WELL elements.

Reduced energy usage

Finally, WELL can reduce a building’s energy usage. For example, WELL ensures that buildings use natural light, which reduces energy consumption.

Residential value

Multifamily project owners tell us they are seeking WELL Certification to attract & retain residents, maximise rent potential and building resale value, differentiate their properties and promote optimal health + well-being for residents. 

How can ATBOS help with WELL certification?

Reducing costs for data collection and verification

Atamate can provide building owners with a clear pathway to comply with many of the concepts, both pre-requisites and optimisations. WELL is a performance based system and requires on-site testing for various air, water and air quality parameters as well as sound and light parameters. Table xxx shows some of the parameters that need to be measured for WELL compliance and which of these can be included in an atBOS system.

Table 2. WELL Data Requirements

Concept

Parameter

Standard in atBOS system or bespoke sensor

Air

PM2.5 and PM10

Bespoke

Carbon monoxide

Standard

VOCs

Standard

Formaldehyde

Bespoke

Ozone

Bespoke

Radon

-

Water

Turbidity

Standard

Coliforms

-

Disinfectants

-

Lab based contaminants

-

Light

Visual light 

Standard

Circadian Lighting

Standard

Thermal Comfort

Dry-bulb temperature

Standard

Mean radiant temperature

Standard

Relative humidity

Standard

Sound

Exterior noise intrusion

Bespoke

Internally generated noise

Standard

 

atBOS continuously collects data throughout a building and presents this in a simple to use and understand dashboard. Reporting on any metric within the property is greatly simplified, and removes the need (and cost) for external consultants to visit the site to take sensor readings for recertification.

Please get in touch below if there are any questions about how to achieve WELL standard and how this can help achieve healthy building goals.

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