A Critical Evaluation of the Environmental Performance of the WELL Building Certification

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Poster Number:  V-03 

Main Presenter:    Marguerite Niquel 

Co-Authors:   Ben Amor                                               

One common approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by the industry, in the building sector, is the use of certification. However, existing certifications do not always seem to succeed in improving the environmental performance of a building. Therefore, it is important to assess their environmental performance, which has partially been done in the past. Yet, one popular certification seems to remain an exception in research: the WELL Building Certification. Developed around ten concepts linked to human health and well-being, this certification proposes a list of strategies, called parts, to choose from in order to reach a desired level. These parts aim to enhance the comfort and quality of the environment, as well as improve the lifestyle habits of the occupants through food and physical activity, among others. To address the lack of information regarding the potential environmental performance of this certification, this study proposes a methodology to critically evaluate its
latest version. First, a review of the 227 parts offered by the International WELL Building Institute is done to identify the ones that can be studied within the limits of this research. Then, the selected parts are modeled using the IMPACT World + method. According to the results, recommendations will be made to support the selection of low-impact parts and to identify high-impact parts. By doing so, the selection process will enable a higher human health potential with the lowest environmental footprint. This study will help professionals working on the accreditation process make informed decisions when selecting the parts they want to follow.

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