Select Page

WELL’s Pursuit of Material Health: A Holistic Path to Transforming the Building Industry

In a compelling presentation at the Material Health Symposium IV, Rodolfo Perez, WELL’s Material Concept Lead, unveiled the strides WELL has made in the realm of material health and its vision for the future. His insights not only highlighted WELL’s progress but also underscored the importance of a collaborative and holistic approach in advancing healthier materials in the building industry.

WELL: Advancing Health and Well-Being in Buildings

At the heart of WELL’s mission is the ambition to advance health and put people first, embracing a comprehensive perspective that encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being. This holistic approach is mirrored in WELL’s methodology to enhancing health through the built environment, treating materials as a crucial component that ties together various aspects of building performance, from acoustics to water systems.

Material Health in WELL: Beyond the Basics

Perez outlined WELL’s rigorous approach to materials, which involves eradicating harmful substances, selecting healthier building materials, and minimizing reliance on chemicals in building operations. WELL’s framework seeks not just to remove the “bad stuff” but to foster an ecosystem where healthier alternatives are the norm, integrating practices such as cleaning protocols and pesticide management to safeguard building inhabitants.

Creating Demand, Shaping Futures

A recurring theme in Perez’s presentation was the significance of creating market demand for healthier materials. With WELL’s coverage expanding to a substantial portion of Fortune 500 companies, it’s clear that the initiative is gaining momentum. However, as outlined by Perez, the real challenge and opportunity lie in leveraging WELL’s growing influence to make healthy materials a standard decision in the construction market, rather than an exception.

Collaboration and Clarity: The Road Ahead

Acknowledging the complexity of specifying healthier materials, Perez emphasized the importance of collaboration and alignment with existing efforts in the industry. He highlighted initiatives such as convening a diverse group of stakeholders at the WELL Summit to chart the future of healthy materials and the necessity of clear, accessible information to navigate the often noisy landscape of material health data.

Importantly, Perez stressed the need for a unified front, aligning with initiatives like HPDC, to facilitate the material selection process. By streamlining access to health product declarations (HPDs) and other critical information, WELL aims to simplify the pathway for specifying and purchasing healthier materials.

WELL’s Impact: Beyond Certification

Perez’s presentation convincingly argued that WELL’s impact transcends mere building certification. By advocating for a business case that aligns health with profitability, WELL is strategically positioning itself to influence top-level corporate decisions. This approach has the potential to transform market dynamics, creating demand for healthier products that, in turn, drives innovation and reduces costs.

A Call to Collective Action

Concluding his presentation, Perez delivered a powerful call to action: to grow and evolve collectively. He reiterated that while the movement for material health might still be nascent, its potential is vast. By working together, sharing knowledge, and fostering market demand, the goal of integrating healthier materials into every building can become a reality.