Healthy and Sustainable Building Design Standards


While the LEED certificate deals primarily with the environmental impacts of the built environment, in recent years the standard has been accompanied by growing consensus that any sustainable building project must consider the impact of the structure on the health and wellbeing of its occupants.

One of the earliest means of measuring this impact was the Living Building Challenge developed by the International Living Future Institute in 2006. The award judges a building based on seven factors, or “petals”; Place, Water, Energy, Health, Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. These eight elements provide a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment.

Another standard which Altanova has successfully pursued for our clients is the WELL building certification. This standard uses over 100 factors to determine a broad range of design strategies and policies to benefit the inhabitants of a building. It is based on a thorough review and onsite performance assessment administered by a third party and can be applied to new or existing buildings. The factors under review are all linked closely to human health with each one directly linked to a different health system of the human body. By viewing design through such a prism, we can understand how small changes in lighting, temperature or acoustics can have a direct impact on employee health.

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