With the term “wellness” becoming an increasingly important aspect of how people live their daily lives, a protocol to focus on human wellness and health within the built environment was certainly overdue. Enter the WELL Building Standard, the first to marry best practices in design with evidence-based medical and scientific research.
As the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of people in buildings, WELL engages building design and operations as agents of public health. It measures, verifies and monitors the many features that inevitably impact our overall health and well-being.
CPL Interior Designer and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Carly Owczarczak, is at the forefront of the growing WELL and healthy buildings movement. Having recently achieved recognition from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), she is now positioned to use her expertise to work on WELL projects and help guide clients to incorporate best WELL practices.
For Owczarczak, becoming a WELL AP seemed to align perfectly with her beliefs and values, both personally and professionally.
“I’ve always been interested in maintaining the health of my own body through exercise and healthy eating,” said Owczarczak. “Similarly, throughout my professional career, I’ve always strived to design functional spaces that have a positive impact on an occupant’s overall physical and mental health. The natural progression was to fully invest myself into understanding the critical connections between a building’s systems and the human body’s systems.”
The WELL Building Standard takes a holistic approach to health in buildings by focusing on seven main concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
A Comprehensive Approach to WELL-Being
“The seven concepts focus on improving the human body’s various systems including cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal and urinary,” explained Owczarczak. “No matter what type of space we’re designing, we must be mindful of how the human body’s systems will react to the very systems we design for that built environment. As designers, it’s our responsibility to be mindful of those reactions.”
Owczarczak’s WELL Accreditation not only denotes her commitment to advancing human health, but it also allows her to leverage her design talents to foster healthier lives for the clients we serve. Whether she’s designing a cafeteria for K-12 students, an exam room for healthcare patients, or a recreation center for members of the community, her brain is now wired to automatically consider the ways in which she can influence healthy, productive and mindful experiences through intentional design.
“At this point in my career, I can’t help but incorporate designs that nurture healthy habits and empower people to perform and feel their best. It’s too important not to,” she said.
The buildings we live, work, learn and play in have a profound impact on our overall health and well-being. For any health-conscious building owner, human wellness in the built environment should continue to be a top priority, which means designers like Owczarczak, should continue to pave the way in creating positive, healthy experiences through design.