Administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™), the WELL Building Standard™ is the premier standard focusing on the influence that the places we work, live and play have on the well-being of their occupants. In order to achieve certification, WELL requires the property owner to submit documentation regarding their property, and have the property undergo rigorous testing and a final evaluation by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). GBCI is the third-party certification body for WELL that evaluates whether properties meet WELL performance requirements in areas such as water and air. In order to maintain certification, testing must be done every three years. Spark, developed in the Wola district of Warsaw by Skanska, will be one of the first such buildings in Poland to pursue this pioneering building standard. It will allow for the state-of-the-art implementation of WELL Certification into the Polish real estate market and will present an opportunity to popularize this standard throughout the whole CEE region.
– For us, this is a major business decision and another step towards futureproof workplaces that focus on the employees' needs and comfort. In 2009, we were the first developer in the CEE region to decide on developing all buildings in compliance with the LEED certification system and convince both tenants and investors, as well as the whole construction market that green buildings were a good thing. We are sure that it will not be any different this time. Now that LEED has become a commonplace standard, we are making yet another step and committing to one more sustainable trend. WELL is an innovative tool on the Central and Eastern Europe market that will allow us to put an even greater focus on creating friendly and healthy workplaces – says Katarzyna Zawodna, President at Skanska Commercial Development Europe.
WELL Certification is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being through the quality of air, water and access to light, as well as a focus on personal comfort, access to healthy foods, and the influence that buildings have on one’s body and mind. Office buildings recognized with this certification in the future may provide additional benefits for employees such as sports activities and vegetable gardens. As stated in the “How to create a workplace that’s fit for the future” report compiled by JLL, up to 96% out of 6,500 of examined organizations introduced elements of well-being and up to three quarters of them plan to expand this proposition in the next two years as a result of improvements in productivity recognized among employees.
– We applaud Skanska’s global leadership in sustainable construction, and we are especially excited about this commitment in the CEE region, including Poland. It is increasingly one of the most important markets in terms of the development of sustainable real estate. In this respect, this is one of the most mature markets worldwide – explains Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO of IWBI. – Since the beginning, IWBI has worked to find ways that WELL can work harmoniously with the world’s leading sustainable building standards such as LEED, the Living Building Challenge, and international leading green building systems like Three Star, Green Star and BREEAM. In order to promote both environmental sustainability and human health, IWBI welcomes projects to pursue LEED and other green certifications alongside WELL. This solution gives us the possibility to design buildings in compliance with the highest standards. For example, while LEED Certification ensures low water consumption within a particular building, WELL Certification evaluates the quality of the water in this building – adds Rick Fedrizzi.
In the case of office buildings, green solutions have already become the standard. Skanska is the pioneer in this area in the CEE region. In 2012, the developer was the first to be recognized with a LEED Platinum Certification for its Green Towers complex in Wrocław. In 2015, it was recognized with the first LEED CI Platinum Certification in Poland for the interiors of its Atrium 1 office building in Warsaw.
The benefits for employees resulting from designing office buildings in accordance with the principles of sustainable development have already been affirmed by reports compiled by JLL. Convenient acoustics of the office space can improve memory by 66%, the high quality of air might result in 35% less short-term sick leave among employees, while good access to natural daylight and pleasant images can add up to 46 minutes more sleep during the night. Furthermore, the report “Energy consumption in office buildings” prepared by Skanska, Go4Energy and Cushman & Wakefield indicates that the appropriate usage of objects developed in compliance with the principles of sustainable building may result in higher energy efficiency to maintain a comfortable working environment. Analyses showed that energy savings might be as high as 32% which indicates the benefits of appropriate solutions implemented during design and development stages. Such a nuanced approach towards development of buildings can help contribute to financial savings for the tenant as well as positive experiences at work, improvements in efficiency and the greater well-being of the occupants of an office space.
Additional information on WELL Certification:
- WELL Certification is based on seven criteria: air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, mind and comfort.
- The WELL Building Standard was introduced for the first time in the United States in 2014.
- WELL is grounded in a body of health science research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend approximately 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants.
- Currently, there are more than 393 projects, totaling more than 83 million square feet, that are either certified or registered and pursuing WELL Certification.
- Spark, developed in Warsaw, is targeting to be one of the first office buildings in Poland to be WELL Certified by the International WELL Building Institute. Furthermore, the building will also undergo LEED Platinum certification. The general contractor of the building is Skanska S.A. while Skanska Property Poland is responsible for the building’s certification.