There is increasing realisation that environmental and social factors – the “E” and the “S” in ESG – have considerable overlap, a realisation that has to some extent been thrust upon the real estate sector by the Covid 19 pandemic. It is a realisation that has also thrust the Well Building Standard into the limelight of late.
Launched in October 2014 after six years of research and development, the Well Building Standard is claimed to be the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities “seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness”.
The Well Health-Safety Rating is a data-based and independently verified assessment for buildings. It focuses on the analysis of operational rules as well as use and maintenance standards, stakeholder engagement and contingency plans to ensure maximum COVID-19 protection.
Earlier this year the IWBI announced that the amount of space now covered by Well certificates now totals 1.5 billion sq ft across more than 80 countries. “The milestone is evidence of accelerating global adoption and tremendous growth from less than a year ago, when Well projects surpassed 500 million sq ft in nearly 60 countries,” the IWBI said in a statement.
However, the IWBI is not just targeting building owners in its efforts to spread the Well building concept and had the demand side of the space eqation in mind when in January it invoked the names of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Michael B Jordan, Robert DeNiro, Venus Williams, Wolfgang Puck, Deepak Chopra as well as the USA’s 17th Surgeon General Richard Carmona in an advertising campaign to raise public awareness of the Well rating. By using their endorsement it sought to encourage people to look for buildings and spaces with a Well badge.
Rating looks at 22 features
The Well Health-Safety Rating examines 22 features across five core areas – cleaning and sanitisation procedures, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, air and water quality management, and stakeholder engagement and communication – and requires a minimum of 15 criteria be met in order to achieve the rating and be awarded the Well Health-Safety seal.
Gdansk’s Olivia Business Centre is among the latest developments to achieve a rating, and the centre achieved a maximum score of 25 out of 25 points in the 22 basic categories and three new ones related to innovations implemented on site.
A number of the measures that the Olivia Business Centre introduced are primarily a response to the Covid 19 pandemic. For example, it became one of the first office complexes in the world to introduce ion air purification technology, previously used in exclusive environments such as the White House, the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, and private Gulfstream jets.
This technology saturates all internal areas with ions capable of destroying viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in air entering the premises. The air purification process is continuous while people are in a room, so pathogens are under attack the moment that they enter the room.
The level of filtration in air handling units has also been stepped up to the highest level currently available and sensors for pollution from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and particulate matter (PM) have also been installed.
As a result, the purity of air can be monitored and harmful compounds eliminated. Systems for controlling the intensity of air exchange have also been installed based on the knowledge of the current CO2 level.
In addition Olivia Business Centre has had active titanium coatings applied in the common parts of the buildings including elevators, lobbies and access routes to parking garages, which keeps frequently touched surfaces free from bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Titanium coating keeps surfaces pathogen free
The coating, which was developed by Polish company Lumichem, and scientists from the Jagiellonian University, has been utilised in all eight of the office buildings comprising the Olivia Business Centre.
Additional measures to protect office workers have included providing entry card sterilisers, and changing elevator settings so that in stand-by mode the lift doors remain open to allow a change of air.
A number of solutions were also implemented in the last year aimed at other aspects of wellbeing. In summer, there are meetings of tenants’ staff on the patio, sports events are arranged, as well as exhibitions of paintings, photographs and sculpture. The centre will also open an enclosed Winter Garden that will be accessible year round.
“We keep the safety and quality of life of our space users as an absolute priority, which is why we are happy to undergo such an important certification,” said Konrad Danecki from Olivia Business Centre. “During the preparations, we set ourselves the goal of meeting the requirements down to the smallest detail, aiming to obtain the maximum rating in all categories. We are proud that the goal was achieved 100% and that we are one of the first buildings to join the campaign to restore normality and freedom of movement in public buildings.”