Indoor environmental elements can improve occupant health and wellness — and drive business benefits for building owners, developers and facility managers such as improved employee productivity, increased leasing rates and higher asset values.
As such, interest in indoor environmental performance of buildings is growing rapidly — the global environmental monitoring market will reach $19.56 billion by 2021, according to a January report.
But what variables should building owners and facilities managers be monitoring? How should they interpret their data to solve real building-performance problems, and what equipment provides the best solutions?
The proliferation of new and untested monitoring sensors and sensor-based systems is causing confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace, according to the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).
To address this problem, IWBI, along with other building standard and certification organizations RESET, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) are working together to develop a coordinated set of global standards and guidelines for indoor and outdoor environmental monitoring systems and sensors. The new standards will “work seamlessly” with WELL, LEED, BREEAM, RESET and Green Star, the partners say.
IWBI is a founding member of the Well Living Lab, a collaboration with Delos and the Mayo Clinic. The sensor-filled lab is a reconfigurable space where researchers monitor and test technologies and protocols with human subjects in simulated, real-world environments. IWBI says it will use the information learned from the Well Living Lab to help inform the development of this new set of standards.
In addition to ensuring environmental monitoring systems meet various quality, consistency and compatibility standards, the guidelines will also “address synergies and eliminate duplicative reporting” requirements of the various building certification programs, the groups say. This will help reduce costs and make the certification processes more efficient for building developers, owners and operators.
“The use of common standards within WELL, LEED, BREAAM, RESET and Green Star is a monumental step in terms of helping building owners and occupants operate healthy buildings,” said Raefer Wallis, founder of RESET, a building standard and certification program that focuses on using real-time data for human health and well-being.
The partnership also reflects a growing trend among building certification bodies, which are increasingly working together to coordinate their respective frameworks and make it easier for facility owners to earn multiple certifications.
Last year BRE and IWBI partnered to make it easier for building projects to achieve both the WELL Building Standard and BREEAM. And last month the two organizations published a briefing paper that outlines how certified BREEAM credits may be used to demonstrate compliance with the WELL Building Standard post-occupation.