I’ve been the only commercial real estate appraiser in NYC with a LEED-AP BD+C designation for a long time. Taking that course was one of my biggest professional challenges. The language easily understood by architects, engineers and even interior designers, was foreign and difficult for me.

LEED is challenging, as it should be to be meaningful. But that may be one of the reasons there has been a proliferation of new and different, some much more specific, designations such as Green Globes and Net Zero Energy Building. Like all things, certifications have evolved.

The newest is WELL from the International WELL Building Institute. Their standard is simple: prioritize health and well-being in a building and the people who use it. Simple, but powerful and, in my professional opinion, the one to watch.

All of us in the profession have, at some point, either heard of or experienced, sick building syndrome. It’s usually an unspecific malaise (but most often about poor air quality and ventilation), where being in a building causes health problems or discomfort that can include headache, fatigue, nausea and breathing issues.

But meeting The WELL Building Standard ™ provides proof that your facility is the exact opposite: healthy, such that it contributes to users’ well-being and productivity.

The WELL certification can be sought for a building, a building interior or core and shell. The website (wellcertified.com) provides information on how it aligns with other certification systems such as LEED and what it takes to become a WELL AP.

In our increasingly tempeh-is-the-new-tofu, chia seed, kale and black lentil world, this designation can be gold (pardon the pun) for marketing your property. Certainly it positions your company and property as being a leader in healthy spaces.

Imagine you are sending your child to school and the reassurance you would feel knowing the facility was WELL certified. Or that a new restaurant. Or a hospital, lab or research facility. Or residential building. In fact, less than a week ago, New York City’s first WELL-Certified, luxury multifamily building was announced in the Flatiron District – 21W20, a development of Gale International.

Remember, as the WELL Certification becomes more prevalent and recognized and the correlation between health and wealth becomes clearer, you heard it here first. Namaste.

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