The future of healthy buildings

30 June 2023
As the importance of health and well-being in the built environment continues to gain traction, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has been at the forefront of driving the healthy building movement. We delve into the trends and challenges shaping the industry and explore what lies ahead beyond traditional aspects like sanitising, air purification, and water quality.


WELL Adoption Across Sectors

The adoption of WELL certification has seen exponential growth worldwide, and has extended beyond office buildings to other sectors relevant to Stockland such as retail, residential, senior living, and education. A key driver for this adoption is the enterprise-level commitment to prioritise health and well-being. In fact, about 20% of Fortune 500 companies have embraced WELL programs to anchor their corporate health strategies. The comprehensive framework provided by WELL allows organisations to take a holistic approach to the health, safety, and well-being of their workforce.

Equity and Community Resilience

Within the healthy building movement, workplace and industrial facilities are increasingly focused on equity. Organisations strive to ensure that every individual using their spaces feels welcome, comfortable, and benefits from health interventions. By designing spaces for everyone and providing access to high-quality resources, such as water, air, lighting, complemented by mental health support services, organisations can create environments where everyone thrives.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the adoption of WELL has gained momentum, challenges remain. One such challenge is helping the global market understand the dynamics of the WELL ecosystem. It has evolved from a singular building standard to an expansive ecosystem that allows organisations to adopt their own WELL pathways and move forward at their own pace. The industry must also break down communication barriers and raise awareness that WELL can be applied to various building types, beyond commercial office spaces.

Looking Beyond Traditional Aspects 

Beyond sanitising, air purification, and water quality, the future of healthy buildings lies in promoting mental health and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Organisations have a significant role to play in leveraging their spaces to create environments where everyone feels seen, heard, and welcome. IWBI's introduction of the WELL Equity Rating provides a roadmap for organisations to take action toward their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

By implementing strategies that manifest these values, organisations can make a difference in the well-being of their workforce and stakeholders. 

As the industry moves forward, the focus on healthy buildings will continue to evolve, with an increasing emphasis on mental health, diversity, and inclusion. The holistic approach of the WELL framework offers organisations the opportunity to create spaces that support the well-being and success of all individuals.