Leadership platforms: Building WELL into the future (USGBC Minnesota) | U.S. Green Building Council
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The 428 project illustrates how WELL certification can be sought through innovative renovations.

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 will feature 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. 

Reimagining "The 428"

From the ruins of a mid-century five-and-dime store emerges "The 428," a building for the next generation. The 428 building, originally occupied by F. W. Woolworth's in St. Paul, Minnesota, is now amid a major transformation. Commercial Real Estate Services (CRES) recently embarked on an adventure to renovate the 1950s building, which has been sitting vacant for over 24 years, into a modern industrial business hub. To create a building that is both innovative and attractive for future generation businesses, the building will be getting more than just a facelift from HDR Architects and McGough Construction.

While recognizing that a LEED certification through USGBC is the pinnacle standard in green building and energy efficiency, CRES also wants to incorporate a cutting-edge innovation to create a building that will contribute to capturing and retaining talented employees. They envision The 428 as a building of the future, not just the status quo. Although LEED is known for its focuses on energy efficiency and the environment, WELL is a new building certification that focuses specifically on the health and well-being of the occupants of the building. This is a concept in business that has started to be recognized at the design and construction stage of development.

Over an extended period, the cost of constructing a building is estimated to be only 2 percent of the cost of operations, while the cost of doing business is estimated to be 90 percent. The cost of doing business includes employee salaries, sick time, and so on. To improve employee performance, companies are incorporating employee wellness programs as part of the benefits package infrastructure.

The 428 project

Elements of wellness

The 428 will have wellness incorporated into its structure through a variety of health features recognized through the seven concepts of WELL: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. These concepts focus on health and how it affects different body systems. There are several features of WELL, both visible and invisible, built into the structure.

The existing building’s heavy exterior currently has limited windows, with the exception of the storefront glass on street level and a few others on the third level. The renovated building will completely remove the current exterior and replace it with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides to allow for ample daylight throughout the building. The design is also incorporating a fourth level and a partial rooftop annex, also with floor-to-ceiling glass, that will house a collaborative working space.

The newly renovated 65,000-square-foot building will have a communal rooftop space with planters, a wider and more accessible stairway to promote use and movement, a floor-to-ceiling curtain wall for maximum daylighting, sound-deadening glass to keep out excessive traffic noise, bike storage, repair stations and showers in the lower level. The interior lighting will respond to the daylighting of the outdoors and follow a person’s natural circadian rhythm, adjusting for the amount and color of light at the correct time of day.

The building team expects to attract tenants with a forward-thinking mindset—businesses that understand that you can increase productivity without increasing your overhead and staff, simply by creating a place of work that is comfortable and effortless to inhabit.

The 428 is slated for completion in the late spring or early summer of 2018. The project team hopes to make The 428 the first building to accomplish both LEED Silver and WELL Core and Shell compliance in Minnesota.

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 preconditions 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

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