Indoor air quality in the Well certification

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The WELL certification is the reference standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities that seek to implement, validate and measure the factors that promote human health and well-being. The intent of the promoters (IWBI) is to advance human health through better buildings. The certification process extends to ten main concepts: Air, Water, Nutrition, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mental Wellbeing and Community.

The WELL Air concept was developed with the aim of ensuring high levels of indoor air quality, during the life of a building, through different strategies that include the elimination or reduction of polluting sources, the appropriate design of active and passive buildings, operational strategies and interventions on human behaviour.

CERTIFICATION & RI-CERTIFICATION

The certification and re-certification process for WELL Air requires that the measurement is carried out according to the protocol defined by the IWBI, which defines the method and the type of parameters to be measured. The parameters subject to certification and re-certification are:

  • VOC (volatile organic compounds)
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Radon
  • Formaldehyde
  • PM2,5 / PM10 particulate matter

The benchmarks can be different, depending on whether the owner simply wants to meet the minimum requirements or achieve advanced goals.

CONTINUOUS MONITORING

The WELL protocol foresees the continuous monitoring of data on contaminants, to make the occupants aware of their environmental quality.

Continuous monitoring of at least three of the following environmental parameters, within spaces regularly occupied or common in the building:

  • PM2.5 or PM10 (precision 2 μg / m3 + 15% of reading at values between 0 and 150 μg / m3).
  • Carbon dioxide (precision 50 ppm + 3% of reading at values between 400 and 2000 ppm).
  • Nitrogen dioxide (precision 20 ppb at values between 0 and 100 ppb).
  • Total VOC (precision 20 μg / m3 + 20% of reading at values between 150 and 2000 μg / m3).
  • Formaldehyde (precision 20 ppb at values between 0 and 100 ppb).
  • Carbon monoxide (1 ppm precision at values between 0 and 10ppm).
  • Ozone (precision 10 ppb at values between 0 and 100 ppb).

The devices must be installed at least one per floor or one every 325 m2 (between the two, the most rigorous criterion is followed), with the following requirements:

  • 1.1-1.7 m above the floor, in places where occupants usually stay.
  • at least 1 m away from doors, windows and air / exhaust vents

Measurements are taken at intervals not exceeding 10 minutes for particulate matter and carbon dioxide and no more than an hour for the other pollutants. The data is analysed for the hours regularly occupied (for example, median, average, 75th, 95th percentile) and sent each year through the WELL Online portal.

The devices are recalibrated or replaced every year, with documentation certifying their calibration or replacement sent every year through WELL Online.

INITIATIVES FOR AWARENESS

Only if continuous monitoring is implemented properly, it is possible to take advantage of initiatives to promote awareness of Air Quality issues, obtaining an additional score. The possible actions contemplated are different:

Visualisation of environmental measurements. The data of pollutants traced by continuous monitoring are displayed by the occupants in real time, through one of the options:

  • At least one display is positioned in an obvious position, at a height of 1.1–1.7m every 930 m2 of regularly occupied space.
  • The requested data are displayed on a website or telephone application accessible to the occupants. At least one visible sign is placed every 930 m2 of regularly occupied space, indicating how the data can be accessed.

Education about Air quality, adhering at least to two of the following requirements:

  • Supply to occupants of a collection of , digital or physical contents, including at least two resources that outline the impact of indoor air quality on human health (part of the collection of resources required by specification C01: Health and Wellness Awareness).
  • A labelling system (eg colors or symbols) is clearly displayed next to each screen related to air quality monitoring or on the relevant website. Information on health effects is shown in relation to a series of concentrations of continuously monitored air pollutants. An explanation of the labelling system must be provided.
  • Paper or digital communication, at least quarterly, which highlights the importance of indoor air quality for human health, including practical advice on how to improve indoor air quality.
  • Training conducted by an air quality expert, which takes place at least once a year and covers aspects of health and well-being treated in the WELL Air concept, including the interpretation of the collected data and practical suggestions on how to improve the quality of the indoor air.

The Nuvap ProSystem technology platform fully complies with the WELL certification requirements. The monitored data are displayed both through an App and through a Web interface. In both interfaces, the information are updated approximately 4 times per hour and presented in a simple way, with clear reference to the relevant thresholds. Both in the app and via the web, there is a library that indicates for each pollutant the possible sources, the effects, the reference values and some behavioural solutions that can be implemented to reduce the presence of pollutants.

The same information, in a more detailed version, can be enclosed in a periodic report that Nuvap can process on request. Nuvap is available to do training on indoor pollution issues.

To further customise the experience of the occupants, it is possible to integrate the collected information into third parties portals, applications or dashboards, thanks to the complete set of APIs that Nuvap makes available.

Since the monitors are to be recalibrated or replaced annually, Nuvap offers the calibration service and releases the required documentation to be submitted annually through WELL Online.

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