WELL Certification Cost: What is the ROI of WELL?

What does the WELL Certification cost? As you know, WELL is an investment. At the same time, this building standard offers a lot of benefits and it’s designed to give buildings a return on investment in the form of happier, more engaged, more productive and healthier employees, as well as cost-savings and potentially increases in building valuations. 

Want to learn more about the cost and benefits of WELL? Here’s what you need to know. 

What is the WELL Building Standard? 

The WELL Building Standard™ is a building standard developed by The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) that focuses on the relationship between buildings and people inhabiting them. The goal of a WELL-certified building is to enhance people’s health and wellness. 

For employers, this translates into worker wellness and productivity and a more attractive employer brand that attracts and retains the best employees. And as a building owner, you attract high-quality companies who care about their employees and are willing to invest in them. 

Much research has gone into the building standard: WELL was created over many years by physicians, scientists, and industry professionals. A building that has achieved WELL shows a deep commitment to wellbeing. 

To achieve its goal, the WELL Certification includes different elements: Air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. 

But what are the benefits of WELL? That’s what we’ll look at next. 

What are the benefits of WELL?

People spend the majority of their time inside. According to the EPA, the average American spends 90% of his or her time indoors. In the United Arab Emirates, this number is between 85-95%. And as cities grow everywhere in the world, this figure is likely to be high in all urban areas. 

Not only that but most of the operating costs of high-end buildings and companies are derived from employees. 90% of a business’s operating costs tend to go to salaries and staff. 

That’s why it’s crucial that employees stay engaged, happy, healthy, and satisfied. This means lower employee absenteeism, as well as higher productivity, turnover, and profits. One of the best ways to achieve this? Using WELL to optimize buildings for humans. 

The benefits of the various WELL elements 

WELL helps optimize buildings for people to improve health, happiness, and productivity. The specific benefits of the different WELL elements are: 

  • Air. Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to human health. Indoor air quality has a huge impact on people’s health and cognitive functioning. 
  • Water. Water is one of the easiest ways to ensure that we stay healthy. By getting access to safe, healthy, and adequate drinking water, people are kept hydrated. 
  • Light. Poor lighting often gets overlooked, but it has a direct link to our health and wellbeing. Even 13-15 minutes of exposure to natural light will trigger endorphins, but inadequate light can cause sleep problems and other health issues. WELL ensures the quality and efficiency of light. 
  • Nourishment. It’s clear that healthy foods affect all aspects of our health, wellbeing, and performance. But if there isn’t any healthy food available, it’s all the easier to go for unhealthy options. By making wholesome foods available and unhealthy foods less available, WELL works to prevent obesity and malnutrition.
  • Fitness. Staying active is crucial for our bodies, but also cognitive functioning and wellbeing. WELL elements include the integration of exercise and fitness by providing features that support and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. 
  • Comfort. Factors like acoustics, temperature, humidity control, and comfortable workspaces all have an impact on people’s wellness and productivity. WELL ensures these are optimized in buildings. 
  • Mind. Studies show that even looking at nature (rather than being in nature) helps our brains to work better. Incorporating nature into buildings helps improve focus and wellbeing. 

At the end of the day, WELL has an impact on a building’s value, companies’ bottom line, the health of people using the building, the functionality of the building, and energy usage. 

Case study: Why we developed the first WELL-certified project in the Middle East

At Alpin, our mission is to improve the built environment and to provide healthy and sustainable buildings for all. That’s why it was clear to us that we wanted to achieve the WELL Certification for our own offices in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. One of our core values as an employer is the wellbeing of our employees and WELL fits perfectly with this value. 

We knew that WELL would come with its costs. But we also knew that the benefits of WELL make up for the investment many times over. Because we had achieved the LEED Gold certification as the first project in Masdar City and we have a long history of helping our clients achieve these certifications, we could quickly put up a roadmap for our certification.

To become WELL certified, we made several investments. These include: 

  • Better lighting with natural light.
  • Ergonomic adjustments:
    • Adjustable computer screens.
    • Adjustable desk height.
    • Seat flexibility.
    • Adjustable ergonomic footrests.
    • Keyboard and mouse trays. 
    • Laptop stands.
  • Improved indoor air quality.
  • Healthy food options.
  • Sponsored gym subscription.
  • Team events.
  • Noise level improvements.

As a result, our headquarters became the first in the Middle East to create a building that applies all the WELL standards and works for our employer’s wellness and health. 

How much does the WELL Certification cost? 

You know that WELL is an investment. However, the certification requires less costs than when it was first launched. Based on feedback from the market, IWBI launched WELL v2™ in 2018. This version has fewer requirements than version one and a revised fee structure.

So how much does the WELL Certification cost? Good question. It’s not always easy to estimate the exact costs without any details about the project, as costs can vary a lot.

The application process costs depend on the type of space, company, and size. Additional costs include costs for the certification program, as well as support-related costs. Again, these depend on the type of project.

You’ll also have costs for installments, features, and so forth. These vary from project to project. 

Here’s a simple cost calculator you can use. You can also contact us to get an estimate on your project costs. 

For example, here’s an example of the WELL certification cost for a 6,000 sq ft project:

WELL certification cost example

What is the ROI of WELL?

In the end, is the WELL Certification cost worth it? Naturally, that depends on the return on investment you get from your certification. So what is the ROI of WELL?

WELL has a return on investment that lasts throughout the building’s lifecycle. This ROI can be calculated using multiple different factors:

  • Building value. WELL has a direct and indirect impact on a building’s value. WELL-certified buildings perform better for people and ultimately, this will reduce business costs and increase business ROI. 
  • More productive employees. As WELL focuses on people, it has an impact on employees and their productivity. This, again, impacts companies’ bottom line.
  • Health and wellness. WELL promotes health and wellness and the benefits that come with it. For businesses, this means reduced health costs and increased employee satisfaction rates. 
  • The functionality of a building. A WELL building functions optimally thanks to WELL elements.
  • Energy usage. Finally, WELL can reduce a building’s energy usage. For example, WELL ensures that buildings use natural light, which reduces energy consumption.

Examples of WELL ROI 

What are some examples of the ROI of WELL? Here are a few ways in which WELL has had a tangible impact on workspaces: 

Cundall: Reduced staff turnover

Cundall, a UK firm with a WELL Gold-level Certification, saw a 50% drop in absenteeism as well as a 27% drop in staff turnover. The business spent $80,000 on its certification but saw a positive return already in the first year. 

CBRE Madrid: Productive employees

CBRE Madrid earned a Gold WELL Certification and was the first project in Spain to get WELL certified. 80% of CBRE Madrid’s employees believe that their WELL-certified offices made them more productive. 90% say that the WELL Certification has a positive impact. 

Symantec: Better collaborations, socialization, and innovation 

Cybersecurity firm Symantec earned a Silver WELL Certification. Of its employees, 77% say that the workspace fosters more collaboration and socialization. 30% of employees feel more innovative. 

Landsec: Increased satisfaction with workspaces

Landsec, which earned a Silver-level WELL Certification, reported a 40% increase in air quality satisfaction, as well as a 25% increase in satisfaction with lighting.

How WELL improved our workspaces

As a WELL-certified project, we have experienced the advantages of WELL first-hand. Among others, WELL has helped us in these ways:

More satisfied employees

Our employees report high satisfaction levels when it comes to the quality of our:

  • Office furnishing 
  • Office humidity
  • Light
  • Healthy food options. 

Alpin WELL survey

All of these improve the comfort of our workspaces, which means happier and more productive employees. Ultimately, this will have a positive impact on our revenue. 

A prestigious award

In 2019, we won the prestigious Daman Corporate Wellness Award as the Most Improved company. A big reason for this was our WELL Certification. 

Daman Corporate Health Award

Future ROI

WELL will continue to deliver a return on investment for us. It impacts all parts of our business: Our workspace and employees, our employer brand, as well as our brand as a sustainable business, and our business revenue. 

Want to achieve WELL for your building?

There you have it. Now you know what goes into the WELL Certification cost. You also know what benefits WELL has and the return on investment it can have. 

WELL is an investment, but it’s many times worth the cost. After all, you’ll want both a short-term and long-term ROI for your building and that’s exactly what WELL offers.

Want to learn more about getting WELL certified in the easiest and most cost-effective way possible? Read more about how we at Alpin can help you here.