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Why Are Innovative Materials Crucial to Revolutionize Workplace Wellness?

Designing spaces that prioritize human well-being isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about crafting environments that empower and nurture those within them. Materials form the core of this environment that impacts human lives every day, every moment. They form the fundamental framework of any interior space, influencing its ambiance, functionality, and comfort. The WELL Building Standard, thus, emphasizes this pivotal role of materials by setting parameters for their selection, focusing on promoting health and wellness within indoor spaces.

The WELL Materials concept spearheads a movement to minimize human exposure to chemicals during building construction, renovations, and even daily operations. Therefore, recognizing the repercussions of material choices on human health and environmental sustainability is pivotal in creating spaces that promote well-being.

Understanding the Well Building Standard for Materials

Well materials

The WELL Building Standard for Materials is a holistic framework designed to assess and regulate chemical exposure risks in workplaces. It emphasizes a proactive approach to mitigate potential health hazards posed by various compounds commonly found in building materials.

This comprehensive standard necessitates assessing and preventing human exposure to legacy chemicals like lead, asbestos, and PCBs, which, despite being restricted in manufacturing, still pose threats through existing structures and environmental contamination. Furthermore, it advocates for substituting materials containing compounds like PFCs, Ortho phthalates, heavy metals, and VOCs with alternatives that are safer for human health and the environment.

Now that we have understood the significance of materials in workplace design and the WELL Materials concept, let us understand why considering these aspects is important for your workforce’s well-being and business growth.

Benefits of Adhering to WELL Building Standards for Materials

Well Certification

Embracing the WELL Building Standards for materials offers multifaceted benefits to businesses. Primarily, these standards act as catalysts for alignment with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, facilitating the achievement of net-zero commitments.

Notably, studies indicate that 73% of consumers are inclined to support businesses dedicated to sustainability, indicating the potential for market expansion, and brand loyalty through sustainability initiatives. Thus, adherence to these standards fosters a reputation for environmental stewardship, augmenting brand value, and appealing to environmentally conscious talent.

Research conducted by Deloitte highlights that 61% of employees prioritize a company’s sustainability efforts when choosing an employer.

Furthermore, employees in spaces adhering to these standards demonstrated a 30% reduction in health issues associated with poor indoor air quality, resulting in decreased absenteeism and an overall productivity boost.

Let us now explore strategies for material selection as per WELL standards.


Strategies for Material Selection under the WELL Building Standards

Ingredient Disclosure and Literacy: Encouraging Transparency

Encouraging manufacturers to disclose material compositions helps make informed decisions.

For instance, evaluating if the paint contains harmful chemicals allows for choosing healthier alternatives, ensuring employee safety.

Optimization for Human and Environmental Health: Minimizing Negative Impacts

Strive to minimize adverse effects on both human health and the environment.

For instance, opting for materials with recycled content reduces waste and supports sustainability, benefiting both people and the planet.

Emission Reduction: Prioritizing Low-VOC Materials

Prioritizing materials with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) reduces indoor air pollutants.

For instance, choosing low-VOC paints reduces harmful emissions, ensuring better indoor air quality and promoting respiratory health.

Adoption of Low-Hazard Products: Promoting a Healthier Workplace

Promoting the use of low-hazard products contributes to a healthier workplace.

For instance, using eco-friendly cleaners minimizes indoor air pollutants, creating a safer environment for employees and reducing health risks associated with harsh chemicals.

New-Age Materials Aligned with WELL Parameters

Anti-Microbial Surfaces

Materials treated with anti-microbial properties contribute to maintaining a hygienic workplace environment, crucial for employee health and safety, especially in the post-pandemic era.

For instance, surfaces treated with specialized coatings containing substances like silver ions or titanium dioxide exhibit anti-microbial properties. These coatings can be applied to various materials such as plastics, ceramics, or metals, making them suitable for high-touch areas in office spaces, healthcare facilities, and public settings.

Cradle-to-Cradle Certified Products
well building materials

These products go beyond sustainability; they are designed for circularity, ensuring minimal environmental impact throughout their entire lifecycle, aligning perfectly with WELL Building Standards.

For instance, some carpet tiles are designed with recyclable materials, allowing them to be disassembled and recycled at the end of their lifespan. These tiles ensure minimal waste generation and support a circular economy by reusing materials in new products.

Bamboo Composite

Eco-friendly, renewable, and sturdy, suitable for flooring and furniture.

Recycled Metal

Offers durability while reducing environmental impact, ideal for structural elements.

Bio-Based Insulation

Provides efficient insulation, contributing to energy efficiency and improved IAQ.

Low-VOC Paints

Enhance aesthetics without compromising indoor air quality.

Cork Flooring

Renewable, sound-absorbing, and comfortable underfoot, supporting wellness in workspaces.

Bonus Tips

  1. Supplier Collaboration:Forge alliances with suppliers offering WELL-compliant materials to ensure the seamless integration of wellness-oriented materials in workplace design.
  2. Strategic Placement: Integrate these materials strategically in communal spaces to maximize their impact on employee well-being, encouraging interaction and well-being.

In Conclusion

In today’s time, choosing materials carefully for workplaces is crucial. It helps make spaces that focus on employee health, sustainability, and productivity. Following the WELL Building Standards for materials not only supports global sustainability goals but also creates a workspace that cares for its people’s well-being.

Ready to embark on a transformative journey towards a wellness-centric workplace? Connect with Zyeta’s WELL APs today for expert guidance on implementing WELL Building Standards in your workplace transformation.

Related Reads:

What are the 4 Emerging Environment-Friendly Materials for Future-Ready Workplace Design?

Why Material Matters in Workplace Design?

As both an Architect and Architectural Journalist, he thrives on building unique content, with words and thoughts--as his brick and mortar. A natural-born explorer, he puts no limits on things he's passionate about diving into, be it cuisines, cultures or books. An avid fiction reader and a chronic over-thinker, he still finds enough time to be happy-go-lucky and easy to approach.

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