NYC's first WELL Building certification awarded to Structure Tone headquarters

Dive Brief:

  • The Manhattan corporate headquarters for Structure Tone marks the first New York City project to receive certification under the International WELL Building Institute's WELL building standard, according to Commercial Property Executive.
  • Construction services company Structure Tone's 82,000-square-foot space earned the Silver designation under the standard by utilizing new and efficient mechanical systems, point-of-source water filters, access to healthy food on site, circadian rhythm lighting, discounts on fitness memberships, sit-stand desks for all employees and the optimization of noise levels.
  • With input from architecture giant Gensler, the company addressed all of WELL's core performance categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Dive Insight:

Part of the WELL philosophy is that people spend 90% of their time indoors, so the built environment should be as healthy as possible. That means the standard focuses not only on the physical aspects of the environment but on the way that physical space can influence tenant behavior, like exercise and nutritional choices.

Features that promote the health and wellbeing of occupants — such as daylighting, thermal comfort, acoustic management, built-in socialization and exercise opportunities and biophilics — are becoming increasingly important to both architects and building owners, according to a September Dodge Data & Analytics report. Of those in Dodge's survey who acknowledged the impact of wellness-related features on their leasing rates and building values, 73% said their lease rates has risen faster, and 62% said their buildings had been valued higher.

WELL is often considered a a next-step certification to more structurally-based certifications like LEED. Almost two years ago, the Green Building Certification Institution (GBCI), which administers the LEED system and its credentials, announced a partnership with the IWBI, through which the GBCI will be third-party certifier of the WELL standard. 

WELL has also struck an agreement with a British green certification system that is quickly becoming established in the U.S. WELL and BRE Group, which offers the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) certification, will determine which of their standards overlap and offer credit for the crossovers to those seeking dual certification. This month, a 1.3 million-square-foot Thousand Oaks, CA, retail center became the first U.S. property to earn the BREEAM USA In-Use certification.

Another WELL partner is the American Institute of Architects. WELL and the AIA will work together to educate AIA members on the standard, conduct and publish research and to encourage the use of the standard in design. 

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