The great outdoors—How to design for living well

Coloradans know the value of connecting with nature. Contractors and designers can help their homeowners live well by incorporating biophilic design principles
Large windows and doors that open a view to the entire outdoor area help homeowners enjoy it even if they’re sitting or working in other parts of the home. (Photo: Abigail-Elise Design Studio)

She believes the economic downturn is partly to blame, but not in the way most people would expect.

“During the downturn, we saw, in the state of Colorado specifically, more public interest and more public funding for sustainability initiatives or projects, or LEED funding for state buildings; in some ways, there was even more progress made at the front end of the recession than I would have guessed,” she said.

“Later, as we came out of the recession and we’ve gotten into this accelerated, highly competitive design and construction market, it’s actually during that time that I feel we’ve not made progress as much.”

Build well, build strong

The WELL Building Standard is a newer rating system to help building stakeholders and communities address a population’s health. Launched in 2014 by the International WELL Building Institute, the system draws from scientific and medical research to draft standards that can mitigate environmental, behavioral and demographic risks.

WELL is based on 10 concepts: air, community, light, materials, mind, movement, nourishment, sound, thermal comfort and water. For example, a home’s WELL score will take into account the proximity to healthy food options like supermarkets, farmers markets or community gardens. 

Builders and designers who want to distinguish themselves by constructing homes that are not just green but healthy, may find WELL is a complement to LEED. While the LEED rating system focuses on the performance of a building through efficient design, construction, operation and maintenance, the WELL system is concerned with how building design and construction contributes to the health and well-being of inhabitants.

Danielle Andrus

Editor, Colorado Builder Magazine

Danielle Andrus has 264 posts and counting. See all posts by Danielle Andrus

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