A CATALYST FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
What’s our reason for being here? You probably havent heard of Bruce Mau, but it was his keynote speech over 15 years ago at a design forum which proved a seminal moment for me & significantly influenced the direction I would take Gibbon Group.
Bruce Mau is a Canadian graphic designer who talked about the huge impact of human design on the natural world, from the amazing to the disastrous. His point being that designers have an enormous responsibility to pursue paradigm-shifting principles in design if we are to effect positive sustainable change. He sees the world very much as a collaborator having worked with some of the world’s leading innovators & visionaries, eg. Frank Gehry.
I was inspired that designers could potentially make a significant contribution to our world going forward. But what about Gibbon Group? We don’t design nor do we make things, so it was a dilemma for me. But I then started to see that our role could actually still be relevant & potentially have significant influence if we were to be a catalyst or driver for positive change.
That was in 2002 the year the GBCA was founded and we joined in 2007 – I spoke to my team after that seminar about sustainability! It’s been our core philosophy ever since and drives how we source sustainable products and how we influence our suppliers to keep building on sustainable innovation.
So our reason for being here is very definitely two fold – an aspirational intent to help build awareness – but also a commercial intent – and that is to build awareness of what we do and the great products we represent. So enough of us!
– Ainsley Gibbon
THE NEXT WAVE OF SUSTAINABILITY
We know how critical the role of architect & designer is in designing our future – architects continually innovate, creating new paradigms for the built environment – designing for enhanced liveability and quality of life. WELL aligns with this thinking and quantifies the built environment’s impact on the human condition and its ability to positively or negatively impact the user, which is of itself an important shift in the sustainability incarnation.
The International WELL Building Standard is being referred to the as “the next wave of sustainability”, or the ‘broader sustainability horizon” because it goes beyond the current singular focus on the built environment. The Standard essentially evolved out of a dissatisfaction with the limitations of existing environmental certifications to deal with the relationship between buildings and the human condition – specifically human health.
Interestingly while there may be an aspirational aspect to WELL, there are also clear commercial implications.
WELL – IS FOR PEOPLE
It’s important for businesses to understand the impact their physical space has on their people, their brand and their corporate culture. Health and wellbeing has a powerful and positive impact on employee performance and their overall levels of satisfaction at work. Partly it is about the fitout, but more importantly it’s about how companies treat their staff & what they do inside their own tenancies, right down to the HR policies and how well they educate people on nutrition and the activity related design in the space.
INVEST IN PEOPLE – FOR RETURN ON INVESTMENT
In a typical office building, 90 per cent of operating costs come down to staff. By comparison, just one per cent of operating costs typically goes to energy. So from a CEO’s perspective, the benefits of increasing productivity is both potentially massive, and even a small change can have a big impact. But building performance and human productivity must go hand in hand. A poorly performing building can have productivity costs through increased absenteeism, higher staff turnover, and inability to attract & retain the top talent.
The notion of placing the health and wellbeing of its occupants at the centre of a building’s function has captured the attention of major stakeholders of premium commercial property such as Grocon, Macquarie Bank, Dexus, Lendlease and CBUS, where they are either registering or have already certified their buildings in Australia for WELL. Both Mirvac’s & Frasers Property HQ’s in Sydney are WELL certified to GOLD standard.
WELL BUILDING: THE NEXT TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY
The story of the development of WELL starts with a key individual, Paul Scialla. He had become a leading voice in the sustainability movement in the US & a key figure in the US GBC, and he could see that developing a standard that would reinvent buildings to be better for, not only the planet, but also for people – had to be the next horizon for sustainability.
Paul Scialla could see that WELLNESS was already being reflected in the office workplace through IEQ strategies & corporate health programs. It was nothing new. But it was his strategy to understand how these fit together with the corporate culture, the business case and sustainability that made all the difference. “What good is a lunchtime yoga class if you return to a highly stressful environment? And what good is a healthy food option when the air is filled with toxins?”
So his seminal leap was to realise that the merging of the world’s largest asset class, real estate with the world’s fastest growing trillion dollar industry, well-being – would be the next wave for wellness. And bringing a quantifiable standard to provide a measure was a next critical step.
WELL: WHO IS BEHIND THE WELL BUILDING STANDARD?
IWBI + GBCI
The International Well Building Institute established by the Delos Corporation delivers & administers the WELL Building StandardTM globally. The Delos Corporation & Paul Scialla are the drivers behind the Institute.
DEVELOPMENT OF WELL
IWBI undertook a comprehensive expert peer review process, which included three phases – a scientific, medical and building expert review – and culminated in the release of the WELL Building Standard.
In the US and now in Australia, WELL Institute delivers the Standard, but the certification and its accredited credentialing program are third-party administered through GBCI – Green Business Certification Inc – which also administers other leading global green building standards such as LEED and the Living Building Challenge.
WELL: IN A NUTSHELL
A MODEL FOR DESIGN & CONSTRUCT –
INTEGRATING HUMAN HEALTH FEATURES
IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
A PERFORMANCE-BASED SYSTEM –
MEASURING IMPACT OF BUILT
ENVIRONMENT ON HUMAN HEALTH
CARPET – ITS POSITIVE ROLE IN WELL BUILDING
Products cannot achieve WELL Certification – only buildings or spaces can. So from our perspective as a carpet distributor this posed the question of what, if any, would be carpet’s role in making a contribution to achieving WELL.
After consultation with the WELL INSTITUTE in Australia, we found that carpet can actively make a contribution to 4 of the 7 concepts which reflected the importance WELL places on material, physical & emotional health considerations.
01 AIR | 02 WATER | 03 NOURISHMENT | 04 LIGHT | 05 FITNESS | 06 COMFORT | 07 MIND
For more information on WELL and the range of fit-for-purpose carpets that can contribute to 4 of the 7 concepts, call us at Gibbon Group or email…