In Case You Missed It!

WELL Building Seminar Covers Circadian Lighting Standards

Beyond quality lighting and access to views, circadian lighting was the hot topic at “WELL...WELL...WELL!” a presentation on the WELL Building Standard.

Gayathri Unnikrishnan, director of standard development at the International WELL Building Institute, and Chad Groshardt, associate director of Atelier Ten, covered the core concepts of the WELL Building Standard and how it can inform the lighting design process. New York Digital hosted the well attended discussion on October 11.

The healthy building movement is an extension of “green” building that takes a holistic approach to how buildings affect the people in them. The WELL Building Standard brings together scientific research, practitioner knowledge, and medical experts’ recommendations into a certification program for different types of buildings. In most businesses, personnel costs significantly outweigh building and operational cost. WELL encourages workplace improvements intended to reduce personnel costs, in order to maximize return on investment. Over 400 projects enrolled under WELL v1, and these results are being used to inform WELL v2, coming soon.

WELL aligns with LEED and other rating systems that focus on sustainability in terms of resources. WELL evaluates building features, and other aspects of the built environment, that impact health and well-being. Air, water, foods, light, fitness, comfort, and mental/emotional enhancements are assessed and, in some cases, ongoing monitoring is required.

In sum, we spend thousands of hours a year indoors, and these spaces shape our habits, choices, and overall health. Spaces should be good for people.

We’ve learned in recent years that light has a profound impact on our health and well-being. The lighting requirements in the WELL Building Standard highlight circadian lighting design, but do not require dynamic/tunable lighting. There are requirements for equivalent melanopic lux in work, living, and education spaces; as well as elimination of light at night in sleeping spaces. The focus on melanopic lux is intended to increase alertness, enhance occupant experience, and promote sleep.

The overall intent of the Light portion of the standard is to minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity, and provide appropriate visual acuity where needed.

Unnikrishnan and Groshardt also discussed the path to becoming a WELL Certified professional and pursuing WELL Certification for particular projects. To learn more, visit