"Wellness" at the Impact Conference

“Wellness” was a prominent theme at this year’s USGBC MN Impact Conference. Approximately 300 people attended this year’s conference, conducted on May 3rd at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Gausman & Moore was actively involved in this year’s conference, with six attendees, a presenter, and a steering committee member. Mark Leutgeb (Business Development, Roseville Office), introduced two WELL presentations: “Using Wellness to Define Your Corporate Culture” and “Well-Being the New Frontier.”

 

WELL is a third-party rating system similar to LEED, also administered by GBCI. Just as LEED was an evolution of sustainable and environmental best design practices, WELL is an evolution of Indoor Environmental Quality best design practices. LEED Credits for building certification responded to previous problems such as “Sick Building Syndrome” by requiring better Indoor Air Quality during construction and operation of the building. The WELL rating system challenges the building owner and design team to envision the building as a place to contribute to better physical and mental health.

 

Some WELL credit examples include
Promoting Exercise
Biophilia (design inspired by natural environments)
Healing Gardens
Views to Nature
Daylighting
Flexibility
Social Interactions
Acoustics
Thermal Comfort
Indoor Air Quality
Prayer/Meditation Rooms

 

What does Wellness mean for our engineering designs? Wellness means engineering our systems to reduce stressors in the work, learning, shopping, or healing built environments. Too hot or too cold spaces are stressors. We engineer our heating and cooling systems to provide thermal comfort. Poor indoor air quality is a stressor. We engineer our ventilation systems to provide clean fresh air to breathe. Noisy ventilation systems are a stressor. We engineer our ventilation system air velocities to minimize noise. Glare from lighting systems causes eye strain. We engineer indirect lighting systems to minimize glare.

 

Well can mean much more than the absence of disease. Well-Being is the new frontier in the design of the built environment.

 

Photo: Mahesh Ramanujam, President & CEO of USGBC, spoke at the 2017 Impact Conference.