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People and WELL: Creating a Healthier Work Environment

In 2020, we’ve seen firsthand the impact that air quality and workplace safety have on the health and well-being of building occupants. As the nation continues to learn about SARS-CoV-2, including its effect on our bodies and the ways in which the virus spreads, guidelines for building safety and office return plans will continue to evolve.

To facilitate a safe and effective return to the workplace, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has created the WELL Health-Safety Rating, a program that aims to emphasize the need for increased awareness surrounding health and safety in public and/or commercial buildings.

With the knowledge and experience of organizations such as The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a foundation, the IWBI has created a rating program to maintain a healthier, safer environment for individuals during the pandemic and into the future.

What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

The WELL Health-Safety rating includes more than 20 distinct health and safety features across five core areas. The areas include cleaning and sanitization, emergency preparedness, health service resources, air and water quality management, and stakeholder engagement and communication. A minimum of 15 criteria must be met in order for a building or space to achieve the rating and be awarded the WELL Health-Safety seal. The rating program utilizes both flexibility and scalability to apply to various building types and sizes.

The process of achieving the Well-Safety rating usually takes seven to ten weeks to complete—four to six weeks to document building compliance and eight to ten days for final review and certification.

How to Achieve Better Air Quality With Commercial HVAC

One of the most important features of the WELL Health-Safety Rating is the concept of air, including air quality and air management. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality has become crucial to understanding and combatting the spread of harmful pathogens. Indeed, efforts to achieve cleaner, more breathable air will likely continue long into the future due to the lasting impact of the virus on public health and safety.

When airborne contaminants are allowed to travel throughout a building via the HVAC system, the impact of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) begins to spread beyond the building’s occupants to the greater community. Because the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads through both water droplets and aerosols, the quality of indoor air has a dramatic impact on the building environment.

As we’ve learned in 2020, risks are not eliminated solely through adherence to social distancing, sanitation, and barrier guidelines.

In addition to these measures, a combination of HVAC and air management services can help achieve and maintain a healthier, WELL-certified building:

  • Air treatment
  • Commercial HVAC preventive maintenance
  • Filtration analysis
  • Air quality testing
  • Mold and moisture management
  • Legionella management

By successfully implementing the above services, facilities and building managers can further ensure the health and safety of building occupants as they return to the physical workplace.

The Donnelly Mechanical Team of WELL-Accredited Professionals

The WELL Health-Safety Rating provides tools and guidance for facility managers to prioritize health and safety for their building occupants.

From start to finish, Donnelly Mechanical is here to support facility managers looking to enhance air treatment to optimize air quality. Contact the Donnelly Systems Analysis and Commissioning Group to begin crafting a custom strategic remediation plan today.

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