The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has announced that it has passed the 500 million-square foot (46,451,520-square metre) mark of buildings registered and certified under the WELL Building Standard (WELL).
The milestone quickly follows an earlier announcement that the number of WELL Accredited Professionals (APs) and registrants has exceeded 10,000.
“With more than 4000 projects in nearly 60 countries and spanning all space types – offices, schools, hotels, residences and more – it’s clear that this second wave of sustainability has gathered powerful momentum,” says IWBI chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “To reach a half-billion square feet of spaces applying WELL is to positively impact the health and well-being of more people in more places and to begin to truly change the narrative around how we design and operate the spaces where we spend our time.
“So much of WELL’s success is due to our WELL APs and WELL Faculty, an active and growing community that brings education about WELL to colleagues and clients around the world,” he continues. “Together with the market reach of our 130-plus organisational members, this combined leadership has played a critical role in IWBI’s journey towards market transformation, one that puts the people we care about squarely in the centre of every decision we make.”
Over the course of 2019, nearly four times as many new projects registered to pursue WELL as throughout all of 2018.
“Halfway to a billion is one thing, but what’s truly remarkable is the pace of adoption,” says Rachel Gutter, president of IWBI. “WELL entered the market in 2014, and it took roughly four years to reach 250 million square feet, but it’s only taken a year to double that to a half-billion. While that’s a potent market signal, it really reflects an unbelievable rise of a dedicated community around the world that is committed to investing in health.”
To build upon this growth and momentum, IWBI also has leveraged new partnership opportunities to reach priority markets and scale the benefits of delivering better buildings.
“We are fostering a global movement to radically transform how we deliver on the promise of better buildings that help all people thrive,” says Gutter. “We know we can’t do it alone. That’s why last year we announced a partnership with Enterprise Community Partners to bridge sustainability and health by integrating WELL with the Enterprise 2020 Green Communities Criteria, which is the leading building standard for green affordable housing construction nationwide.”
Currently 27 states and Washington DC require or incentivise Enterprise Green Communities certification for affordable housing developments that receive public funds. Beginning in October projects meeting these requirements will also be certified to WELL.
“As we continue to scale across every dimension, it becomes more important than ever that we find a place and time for our community to experience the power of this movement,” says Fedrizzi. “That’s why in two short months, we’ll convene in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the launch of The WELL Conference, a gathering designed to inspire, energise and celebrate the people and organisations who are helping us change the world.”
In collaboration with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Emerald Expositions (Emerald), The WELL Conference will bring together architectural, design and engineering communities, along with real estate developers, corporate officials, public health practitioners, and technology companies. Centred on the idea that our buildings and communities are fundamental to our health and well-being, the event will unite a diverse representation of industries and sectors around a shared mission.
“Given these enormous accomplishments in just the five years since WELL first launched, we’re beyond excited to see what this new decade will bring,” says Fedrizzi. “Every new project, WELL AP, WELL Faculty and IWBI member helps us take more steps forward in this journey. And when the mission is to improve the health of people, every milestone is worth celebrating.”