International WELL Building Institute Launches Materials Concept Advisory Board

July 17, 2018

The new group will advise on impact of materials on human health and wellness.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) today announced the formation of the Materials Concept Advisory to explore, better understand and, ultimately, more accurately quantify the impact of materials on human health and wellness. The Materials concept in WELL v2, the latest iteration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL), aims to reduce human exposure to hazardous building material ingredients through the restriction or elimination of compounds or products known to be toxic and the promotion of safer replacements. Compounds known to be hazardous to the health of occupational workers and/or known to bioaccumulate or aggregate in the environment are also restricted and, in some instances, not permitted.

The WELL Materials Concept Advisory is an all-volunteer body of practitioners, advocates and experts who will assist IWBI in the ongoing evolution of WELL as it pertains to the concept of materials and wellness in new and existing buildings and living/work spaces around the world. It is one of nine such advisories launched this month by the organization. The others cover additional concepts that, through scientific evidence, have been shown to impact human health: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Mind and Community.  Concept advisory volunteers will serve a term of at least one year each.

“Engaging this esteemed body of experts advances not just our commitment to measuring and standardizing different aspects of a building’s impact on human health and wellness, but also broadens and deepens our understanding of the role a variable like materials can play in helping people thrive,” said IWBI President Rachel Gutter.

The WELL Building Standard, which launched in 2014, is a groundbreaking tool that focuses exclusively on the impacts of buildings on human health and wellness. In May 2018, IWBI launched WELL v2, building on the collective learnings from nearly 1,000 projects using the WELL Building Standard, and incorporating the latest research, new technology and advanced building practice.

IWBI’s network of volunteer professionals, practitioners, scientists and medical experts that comprise its nine concept advisories covers a broad array of technical, scientific and medical disciplines. These professionals not only work toward the advancement of human health and wellness in their careers, but often endeavor to incorporate the tenets of WELL into their everyday lives.

The newly launched WELL Materials Concept Advisory for 2018-19 presently includes:

  • Michelle Amt, Director of Sustainability, VMDO (Charlottesville, Va.)
  • Tracy Backus, WELL Faculty, WELL AP, LEED AP ID+C, Director, Sustainable Programs, Teknion (Washington, D.C.)
  • Henning Bloech, Founder, Sustaineer Consulting (Germany)
  • Eva-Lena Carlén-Johansson, Manager Sustainability Programs, Skanska AB (Sweden)
  • David Green, Manager Applied Sustainability, BASF (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Robin Guenther, FAIA, LEED Fellow, Perkins + Will (New York, N.Y.)
  • Jean Hansen, FIIDA, LEED Fellow, WELL AP, CID, EDAC, AAHID, Sustainable Principal, Senior Professional Associate, HDR (San Francisco, Calif.)
  • John Mlade, Senior Project Manager, Sustainable & Healthy Environments, Wight & Company (Darien/Chicago, Ill.)
  • Joel Ann Todd, Consultant (Cabin John, Md.)
  • Troy Virgo, Director of Sustainability and Product Stewardship, Shaw Industries, Inc. (Dalton, Ga.)
  • Raefer Wallis, CEO and Founder, GIGA: RESET Standard/ORIGIN Hub (Canada/China)

Oriah Abera, VP Standard Development, is the IWBI Materials concept staff lead.

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