Jesse Turck

The USGBC Minnesota community recognizes that whatever the challenges, we need the right people, tools and platforms to solve them. With increasing focus on not only reducing our environmental impact, but also improving our health and well-being, we have embraced the WELL Building Standard.

Over the summer of 2017, USGBC Minnesota is featuring three articles that focus on the action being taken to improve health and well-being in the built environment. Join us as we investigate this leadership platform through the lens of the Minnesota WELL Collaborative, the efforts to increase educational opportunities and achieving WELL AP credentials and a case study of one of the first projects in Minnesota registered under WELL.

They say that it is an honor just to be asked. When you are one of the first, though, that honor can seem rather daunting. Early this year, BWBR hosted a USGBC Minnesota Green Scene event, the first one approved in the region for WELL continuing education credits. Although GBCI now has very specific criteria for earning CE for LEED, WELL and general credits, at the time the process for earning specific credits was developing. The relatively young WELL program also added to the challenge.

Touring the BWBR offices

Touring the BWBR offices.

The criteria for achieving accreditation is straightforward: develop four learning objectives (for WELL, make sure three of those objectives speak to the WELL standards) and make sure the information is fact-based (not opinion). There are other criteria related to the allocation of credits, placement of logos, distribution of certificates and advertisement of the course in relation to exam preparation.

Still, the criteria is more of a how-to guide, rather than a what, and for such a young program as WELL, that gave BWBR the opportunity to evaluate both how we are developing toward a firm promoting WELL and what the firm is doing to incorporate WELL into projects. We formed our talking points by examining what the design community could learn from our activities and what we could present that was useful for illustration.

When developing CEU-approved content for WELL, we looked closely at the details of the learning goals. Which precondition or optimization strategies aligned with the content? Learning objectives should describe the specific parts of the strategy about which the attendee will learn. GBCI provides extensive guidelines with many strategies, emphasizing the need to break it down into smaller, digestible units.

WELL is giving the design community an opportunity to help organizations see how their space affects individuals, bringing real benefits for mental and physical health, as well as productivity, to the workplace.

Putting together a course on WELL helped us see both how we are doing in promoting healthy design and how we can open the eyes of clients to the potential that WELL criteria can being.

Standing in front of peers for a presentation can be intimidating. With the guidelines and assistance, learning objectives become easier to write and allowed presenters to formulate content around the objectives, freeing up the focus to build a fun and informative session.

Join the Minnesota WELL Collaborative Meeting

When: Every fourth Tuesday of the month, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

Where: HGA Architects & Engineers, Minneapolis

To join the calls, email Brent Suski.

Workshop: The WELL Building Standard

Take a deep dive into each of three concepts for a better understanding of how the specific features will affect your design and operational processes. The pre-conditions of each concept will be explained, and other select features will be considered.

When: Three consecutive Mondays: September 18 and 25 and October 2, 1–5 p.m.

Where: Ryan Construction, Millwright

Learn more and register