WELL Building Standards to help improve the health of “The Indoor Generation”
“Millennial,” “self-involved,” “spoiled.” The new generation has been called a lot of things, but one phrase that applies to us all is “The Indoor Generation.”

Many people today are living with anxiety, asthma and chronic illness with symptoms quickly remedied with medication and artificial substances.

But here’s a question: when was the last time you spent a full day outdoors? Feeling the sun on your skin, breathing in the crisp air around you, moving your body to take you places rather than sitting in your car. Many of us would have a hard time recalling the last memory of a day like this. Yet, this is exactly what our bodies were made for.

Through the creation of automation, electricity and TV dinners, we’ve lost our need to spend time outdoors and now spend a shocking 90% of our lives inside. While we cannot change the way this generation spends their time, as designers, we can change how our environments affect our bodies.

Delos is one organization working towards just that. It is a global wellness pioneer guided by the mission to serve as the world’s leading catalyst for enhanced health and well-being in the environments where we spend 90% of our lives.

Part of their mission has included creating the WELL Building Standard for commercial spaces. It is “the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.” Similar to LEED in that it’s focused on environmental health, WELL takes into account both building and human health—focusing on increasing the health of the people interacting with the space.

There are 10 concepts (pillars) that the WELL Building Standard takes into account: water, air, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community. With nearly 4,000 completed global projects already complying with this standard, we are well on our way to enhancing the world around us.

To break it down, the WELL Building Standard is based on a holistic view of human health and living without disease. Not only is living disease-free a fundamental aspect of health, but it also allows us to enjoy the lives we work so hard for. By creating spaces that contribute to our health rather than illness, WELL is encouraging designed spaces to protect us from what makes us sick and to promote healthy living habits.

One example of promoting healthy living habits is the nourishment pillar of WELL, which requires fruits and vegetables to be available in the space. It also encourages the design of food environments such as pantries and snack bars where the healthiest choice is the easiest choice. Small factors like this add up to make a huge difference in a space where users spend a large portion of their time.

Looking at WELL on a broader scale, the standard is based on a points system with a total of 110 points available to each project. Each pillar mentioned has a certain number of points allocated to it, and the point value of each feature is determined by its potential for impact. The points for each pillar are totaled to determine the overall score of a designed space and whether it has met the WELL Building Standard.

The WELL Building Standard is based on a holistic view of human health and living without disease. By creating spaces that contribute to our health rather than illness, WELL is encouraging designed spaces to protect us from what makes us sick and to promote healthy living habits.

However, while the majority of our indoor lives are spent at work, the rest of our lives are spent at home. Delos has created a system for our residential spaces as well to ensure that we are living our healthiest lives. Darwin, a home wellness intelligence platform, syncs with your home’s health and provides intuitive responses to create the healthiest living environment for its inhabitants.

Darwin is designed to helps users with “enhanced energy, sleep and overall wellbeing by reducing indoor air contaminants that negatively affect respiratory, cardiovascular, immune and cognitive health.” This system purifies your air and water, and it creates circadian rhythm lighting—all to help you restore back to the natural rhythm of life that lets your body thrive.

Delos is truly a leader in the interior design and architecture world, helping us create spaces that not only help our environment, but more importantly, improve human health. “The Indoor Generation” is facing an epidemic of illness that no other generation has dealt with before, and designers are at the forefront of being able to make a change in the lives of those around us.

We hold the key to taking the built environments that once made us sick and turning them into vehicles for transformative health and well-being. It’s up to us. Let’s make a difference for future generations.