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Mindful : February 2019
The WELL Building Standard operates much like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (known familiarly by its acronym LEED), the global green-building rat- ing system that awards points for such practices as collecting recyclables and designating parking spaces for the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. Although LEED also rewards projects for addressing the health of a build- ing’s occupants, WELL has made that its sole focus. Those seeking the WELL stamp of approval are graded on their ability to comply with the requirements spelled out in dozens of features of health and comfort grouped in 10 broad categories, or “concepts.” Among those in the Nourishment concept, for instance, is the creation of spaces to encourage mindful eating; the fea- tures that comprise the Mind concept, including designating areas exclu- sively for meditation or contempla- tion, are intended to bolster cognitive and emotional health. ASID is the first organization anywhere to achieve the highest level (platinum) of both the LEED certifi- cation and the newer WELL certifica- tion, and a growing number of like- minded businesses and institutions are striving to follow suit. “Increas- ingly we have the understanding that we can do so much better—that a building can do more than ‘no harm,’ that it can actually enhance the way that we live,” says Rachel Gutter, president of the International WELL Building Institute. “And so this is, I think, the shift to more mindful spaces—being intentional about our design and asking ourselves, How can our buildings be caretakers of the people within?” A Picture of Health and Happiness Although we may be genetically predisposed to venture from our caves and connect with the natural world, → February 2019 mindful 69 well-being