The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) recently announced WELL Portfolio, a new streamlined pathway for WELL Certification for multiple new or existing buildings and tenant spaces in a single portfolio. Being released as part of the WELL v2 pilot, the latest iteration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL), it is part of a suite of enhancements to WELL that addresses growing demand across the building industry for a program that helps owners, developers and tenants streamline and scale health and wellness upgrades to their real estate assets.
Following roundtables, expert-led discussions and stakeholder engagement, organizations from across the globe have committed to piloting a sample portfolio of qualifying buildings. Their hands-on participation in the development of this pathway through the pilot process assures a program that will deliver immediate and measureable benefits to both early adopters and those who come after.
“The excitement around the WELL Portfolio Pathway among the world’s real estate leaders speaks volumes about the need to use our buildings as part of the toolkit to improve our health and enhance our well-being,” said Rick Fedrizzi, IWBI CEO and chairman. “Organizations know that effective change is delivered at scale, and that is the driving force behind this initiative.”
Fedrizzi noted that allowing for a phased implementation of WELL features across multiple buildings in a portfolio can be more efficient and also provide additional flexibility in the ways that owners and landlords can pursue WELL Certification. To enhance efficiency and flexibility, WELL Portfolio Pathway projects will receive custom scorecards, adapted for their respective building portfolios, and will be guided to make portfolio improvements over time. Building owners will also be able to benchmark health and wellness-related building performance, both across their own portfolios and relative to peer portfolios.
Among the participants of the pilot program is Shaw Industries. Shaw will participate on a global advisory panel, guiding the implementation of the pilot program. The new WELL Portfolio Pathway makes it possible for companies that own multiple buildings of varying ages and uses, such as Shaw, to pursue a new streamlined way to earn WELL Certification across their portfolio. Shaw aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the certification as a standard across its facilities through its participation. The Portfolio Pathway encourages building owners to treat achieving WELL as a journey rather than a destination, making incremental improvements across their portfolio over time, with the ability to track their progress.
“WELL Certification gives us an opportunity to both learn from and contribute to this important conversation,” said Susan Farris, vice president, sustainability and corporate communications. “As a manufacturer of products for the built environment and an owner and manager of numerous properties, Shaw is uniquely positioned to participate. By participating in the WELL Portfolio, we can establish company-wide processes aligned with WELL Certification, while supporting certification of additional facilities and incremental improvements across our portfolio of buildings. Being a member of the pilot, we will be able to evaluate and prioritize additional locations for certification. As a starting point, Shaw Contract’s Shanghai, China showroom achieved WELL Building Standard™ Certification - Silver earlier this year.”
Through its sustainability efforts, Shaw has achieved 88% Cradle to Cradle certification across its portfolio, each product having been assessed across five sustainable attributes: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water and social responsibility. Shaw’s sourcing process also helps ensure that no matter where or by whom a product or ingredient is manufactured, it adheres to the same high standards.
In addition to environmental health, Shaw also keeps a keen focus on understanding how the spaces where people live, work and spend so much of their time influence their health. The launch of Shaw’s patent-pending Sound Advisor tool earlier this year shows the impact ceiling and floor construction, including flooring and underlayment selection, have on room acoustics, which in turn affects the comfort and health of its human occupants. The web-based tool helps users make more informed design and interior product selection decisions.
“We are committed to a consultative approach that helps make the spaces our customers create comfortable, safe and healthy,” Farris added. “We are all on the sustainability journey together. This pilot allows us to learn along with the market while contributing what we’ve learned from our decades of experience.”