The WELL Building Standard provides important guidance around the interests of human health, wellbeing, productivity and sustainability with a focus on the occupant. It includes benchmarks, goals and compliance requirements for owners and other building stakeholders. The WELL Building Standard covers seven core concepts of health: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind – for all types of buildings, including commercial office, retail, industrial, residential and restaurants.
Our last blog post on the WELL Building Standard discussed how building owners can maximize their "comfort" concept score for WELL certification. This post, the second in our series, is focused on the why the WELL Building Standard is so important for the "indoor air quality" (IAQ) environments of the future and how 75F can help you deliver improved air quality for your occupants and achieve top air quality scores toward WELL certification.
Why Should You Consider WELL Building Certification?
A growing body of worldwide research by Harvard, Princeton, Syracuse, Carnegie Mellon, Helsinki University of Technology, U.S. national laboratories, Officeair and many others is supplying ample data and statistically accurate conclusions that improving indoor air quality significantly boosts the cognitive functions, productivity and overall health of building occupants. Office workers, factory workers, warehouse workers, health care workers, students, multi-family dwelling habitants, diners and shoppers all benefit tremendously from improved indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality can be negatively impacted by photocopiers, printers, lighting, stoves, grills, fryers, refrigerators, and any other type of electronic or mechanized equipment. Underperforming HVAC systems and buildings with poor ventilation across the U.S. (including even the most advanced cities) expose tens of millions of people to bad indoor air every day.
Did you know?
- Indoor air is 2-5 times worse than outdoor air in buildings lacking comprehensive indoor air quality controls (U.S. EPA).
- Productivity decreases 10% in poor indoor air quality conditions (REHVA) and can increase up to 8% in improved indoor air quality settings (Harvard University School of Public Health).
- Cognitive abilities can increase over 50% by meeting the American Society of Heating , Refrigerating and Air-Conditiong Engineers (ASHRAE) minimum recommended standard of a 945 ppm CO2 level and a 20 cfm/person ventilation rate in your building (Harvard University School of Public Health).
The WELL Building Standard isn't meant to be rigid. Hundreds of features are applicable to allow building owners flexibility and creativity in building creation, renovation and retrofitting. The Standard is developed by the International Well Building Institute, and certification is administered by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). Working together, 75F can help you improve productivity, employee retention, tenant retention, real estate value and health care savings.
WELL Building + 75F Indoor Air Quality Improvement Features
75F provides a number of solutions to improve indoor air quality monitoring and control for all sizes and types of buildings. Improving indoor air quality management is important in all climates and locations. Simply opening the windows to let in fresh air can certainly be helpful for a time, but ensuring proper airflow and the quality of air throughout your building isn't as simple. The balance of your heating, cooling and ventilation is thrown off by increased outdoor airflow unless you have a dynamic, data-driven system installed to rebalance through continuous commissioning.
In the case of inclement weather, windows must be closed, causing degradation of indoor air quality and energy waste. Each time your ventilation system must rebalance, a large amount of energy is required, especially if manual control is necessary. A self-adjusting system saves on your energy costs and your time.
75F solutions include:
- Dynamic Airflow Balancing — 75F smart dampers in air-ducts prevent hot- and cold-spots from developing in your building by sensing demand and balancing airflow; 75F processes millions of data points each day through temperature and humidity sensors, the 75F Smart Node terminal equipment controller and the 7-sensor 75F Smart Stat. The solution delivers "continuous commissioning" that incorporates weather forecasts and radiant heat zone-by-zone.
- Outside Air Optimization — Optimizes the rooftop unit (RTU) economizer - using more outside air vs. conditioning return air - for energy efficiency, occupant comfort and occupant health through demand controlled ventilation (DCV), comparative enthalpy economy and differential pressure control.
- Facilisight — The 75F remote building control and management platform, is accessible via Web browser and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.
Whether you are considering a retrofit, new build or light HVAC system upgrade, these solutions can be applied in your building to address the following WELL Building Standards for indoor air quality improvement:
- Air Quality Standards (WELL Feature 1): Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combustion byproducts and airborne particulate matter (PM) indoors trigger nausea, headaches, asthma, allergies and other respiratory conditions. Preventing such maladies from affecting building occupants and workers requires a dynamic ventilation system and outside air optimization that proactively manages indoor air quality and the building envelope.
- Ventilation Effectiveness (WELL Feature 3): VOCs and PM result from many routine indoor activities, including cleaning, maintenance, cooking and the simple presence of humans indoors. VOCs levels can be particularly high following a new build, remodeling project or new carpet or flooring installations. Meeting all ASHRAE ventilation standards is a big step in achieving WELL Building Standards. Additionally, meeting ventilation rate recommendations and operating a demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) system is necessary to create effective ventilation in your building. 75F Outside Air Optimization solutions offer DCV system capabilities to fine-tune building conditions based on CO2 sensors (an industry-recognized proxy for other harmful indoor air pollutants) in the return system.
- Increased Ventilation (WELL Feature 15): The WELL Building Standard recommends exceeding by 30% the ASHRAE minimum standard for outdoor air supply rate expressed in Feature 3 above, especially in spaces with unusually high building occupancy, a high risk of accidents that might cause air quality degradation or where there is insufficient capacity to install proper air filtration. Of course, this can be managed while reducing or maintaining energy cost levels with the use of 75F Outdoor Air Optimization.
- Humidity Control (WELL Feature 16): 75F solutions allow high-precision monitoring and control of humidity in ducting and zones. The WELL Building Standard requires either the capability to maintain relative humidity between 30% and 50%, or modeled humidity levels in this range during at least 95% of business hours throughout the year. In addition to the "feels like" temperature factor, monitoring and controlling humidity levels is important for preventing respiratory irritations and the growth of microbial pathogens (e.g., bacteria, dust mites and mold), which can cause odors and allergic reactions.
- Air Quality Monitoring and Feedback (WELL Feature 18): Measuring ventilation rates, pollutant levels, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, and particulate and volatile organic compound (VOC) levels are all parts of monitoring indoor air quality. Overall building performance and sustainable building occupant health is dependent on reliable, accurate and consistent monitoring incorporated with real-time feedback. 75F sensors, data collection and monitoring platforms provide industry-leading indoor air quality and feedback solutions.
75F indoor air quality management is integrated in our dynamic airflow balancing and outside air optimization systems, which also help our customers save upwards of 50% on HVAC-related utility costs. With demand controlled ventilation, continuous commissioning and 75F smart dampers, your building will be fully equipped to keep occupants comfortable, healthy and productive throughout the year.
Don't miss our next WELL Building Standard blog post on WELL light features and 75F capabilities. Light monitoring and controls can help boost productivity and save huge amounts of energy.