Lorraine Doo achieves WELL Building Accreditation

Lorraine Doo achieves WELL Building Accreditation

WELL AP

WELL AP

Lorraine Doo has achieved WELL Building accreditation. The WELL Building Standard® (WELL) is a performance based building certification program that focuses on attributes that contribute to human health and well being. WELL is a building certification similar in some ways to LEED certification, but focused much more on the human health elements of the built environment, measuring building performance across seven categories, called “concepts,” which include air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Under each of the concepts within the WELL Building standard®, there are a number of features – either required (preconditions) or optional (optimizations). In total there are over 100 features, with examples such as lighting levels, daylighting, protecting against volatile organic compounds, ensuring the use of healthy materials, access to clean water, use of sound absorbing materials, access to fitness resources, employee benefits, material transparency and biophilia.

Image of plant

Biophilic image

It is a complex and engaging standard, and any conversations regarding the features will likely lead to enhancements in the building.

As a public health professional and long time advocate of the health benefits of green building, Lorraine is one of only a few WELL accredited professionals in the region. As of May of this year, only 119 professionals were accredited worldwide.
The WELL Building Standard® is designed to work in concert with the LEED Rating System, the Living Building Challenge and other green building standards. The WELL Building Standard® was created to use best practices in design and construction with other health and wellness interventions. In its handbook, the goal is to use the built environment as a vehicle to support human health, well-being and comfort: “the intent of the WELL Certification system for buildings is to help improve the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep, comfort and performance of its occupants.” According to the maintainers of this standard, this is achieved in part by implementing strategies, programs and technologies designed to encourage healthy, more active lifestyles and reducing occupant exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants.
The WELL Building Standard ® was pioneered by Delos, and is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™(IWBI™).  Certification is conducted through IWBI’s collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which is the same certification body used for LEED.
Doo Consulting provides services to companies and organizations pursuing their sustainability goals including green building certifications such as LEED, Living Building Challenge, GreenGlobes, and WELL. For more information on WELL certification or the WELL program in general, feel free to contact us at info@dooconsulting, lorraine@dooconsulting.net or peter@dooconsulting.net.

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Living Heroes from Doo's crew receive Medals

Living Heroes from Doo’s crew receive Medals!

Living Building Challenge Heroes!

Peter and Lorraine Doo were both honored at the 2016 “unconference” of the Living Future Institute as Living Building Challenge Heroes (http://living-future.org/living-building-challenge/about/people/living-building-challenge-heroes) for their efforts in inspiring change in the way buildings are designed, built and operated. Their work on the Gaddy House in Maryland and the Charlotte Lovejoy Conservation Residence Hall in Florida,  both Living Building Challenge projects, have been opportunities to assist in exploring and finding creative solutions as these projects pursue Living Building Challenge certification. Read more

Harvard-Syracuse Demonstrate IAQ Improves Occupant Performance

Harvard-Syracuse Demonstrate IAQ Improves Occupant Performance

Where do you feel your best at work? Do you ever feel the need go for a walk outside to clear your head? If you answered those questions with, “I feel best in a room with fresh air” or “Yes, I enjoy getting out, the air helps me to think,” you are in lock step with researchers at Harvard University School of Public Health who recently issued a report confirming their findings that indoor air quality (IAQ) improves the performance of individuals in buildings.

In 2015, Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Syracuse University Center of Excellence issued a report on a double blind study providing results that indicate improved human performance measures among individuals placed in environments with better indoor air quality.

What is interesting about this study is the amount of control in the experiment’s protocols. The study included the creation of identical office environments with the ability to control air quality. Participants performed their normal work activities in these spaces. Air quality mimicked that in normal office conditions on both the lower and higher end of the spectrum. At the end of each day participants were subjected to a series of cognitive and performance tests. Neither the subjects nor the test administrators knew what air quality conditions had been provided for the day.

The results were dramatic. Cognitive performance of those who were exposed to better air quality was 60% greater than that of participants in the alternative environment!  When subjects were exposed to additional conditions simulating a higher ventilation rate, the cognitive scores were 101% higher.

Statistics such as 60% improvement and 101% improvement, when replicated over time, would give one cause to rethink the cost benefit of increased ventilation.  This enhancement is often rejected as a possible LEED credit to pursue because of its negative impact on energy performance.  While technology is providing solutions to the ventilation/energy balance initial costs and perceptions remain a factor in decision-making.  Given this study data, the formula for the cost benefit analysis when considering the potential impact on wellbeing, occupant performance and productivity, may bear a recalculation.

What of the building developer to whom direct benefits of occupant performance do not accrue? It would be unwise to advertise performance benefits of locating in such a building. A tenant whose productivity did not improve could justify a legal claim if a building developer advertised such benefits. Experiments and published results such as the Harvard/Syracuse study provide the evidence needed to make a case that is more than anecdotal. While a developer may not advertise that her building yields a more productive staff for its tenants, a tenant may seek a building with documented air quality with an understanding that such an environment could improve staff retention, worker satisfaction and performance. This could in turn improve occupancy rates, reduce vacancy durations, provide opportunities for higher rent or other benefits to building owners.

The implications of this report are significant. Its effect on the market is likely to be small for now. It is the first of many such studies that need to be done and whose results need to be broadcast. We encourage you to share this study and comment on this blog.

Lorraine Doo, LEED AP, is a partner at Doo Consulting and holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The firm has used its projects in a study on the relationship between green buildings and wellbeing. Contact us if interested in exploring the relationship between buildings and health.

Doos New Year Innovation Blog

Doos New Year Innovation Blog

THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE RED FIRE MONKEY!  We all know that the monkey is a clever and playful animal who can be an effective problem solver but also a trickster.  Year of the monkeyAs we celebrate 2016’s Year of the Red Fire Monkey, there should be exuberance, entertainment and time for devoted entrepreneurs to carry on their innovative ways.  However, those looking for quick and easy solutions could get duped as some monkey spirits will be on the ball, and quick to have their fun and games.

Doo Consulting wishes all of its colleagues, clients and friends the very best in 2016. Though it is the year of the Fire Monkey, according to Chinese Five Elements Horoscopes, Monkey also contains Metal and Water. Metal is connected to gold. Water is connected to wisdom and danger. Therefore, we will deal with more financial events in the year of the Monkey. Metal is also connected to the Wind. That implies the status of events could change very quickly. Think twice before you leap when making changes for your finance, career, business or personal relationships in 2016. Your individual prospects for the year can be found here.

DOO’S NEWS

We want to thank everyone who is a part of our ever expanding network. Our portfolio grew in geographic and economic breadth. We returned to our consulting roots with the opportunity to work on the development of sustainability plans for the City of Bowie, Maryland, and the Broadmead Retirement Community. A new accreditation in the WELL Building Standard

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What’s the Buzz about Buildings being WELL

What’s the Buzz about Buildings being WELL™?

WELL Buildings are suddenly the rage among designers! Once upon a time, you could barely get LEED from their lips.  So this is good news in some ways; and a little odd in other ways.  Are you part of the movement to incorporate health and well being in your design and development decisions? Are you getting questions from your clients and tenants and potential partners about wellness initiatives? Engagement in personal health issues is popular with the millennial and the “Z” generations, and the boomers are interested in fitness, nutrition, food quality, and transparency (show me).
outdoors
This is a nation of amazing contradictions, paradoxes and ironies. In the United States, there is an extreme hyper consciousness about allergies to foods and food groups that did not exist 40 years ago – for example, Read more

What do Buildings have to do with Corporate Social Responsibility

What do Buildings have to do with Corporate Social Responsibility?

By: Lorraine Doo

Not too long ago, folks were asking what buildings had to do with health. Following that question, and over the past five years, more architects, building owners, developers and manufacturers have come to understand that some of the materials or the process of manufacturing the materials that make up the building, its pipes, paints, flooring, adhesives, and furnishings are comprised of chemicals and compounds that are harmful to humans, the environment or both. Turned out that the stuff IN the building could make people sick. There WAS a connection. A small group of people continued to demand data, and to demand transparency from manufacturers. As data became available from the pioneer manufacturers willing to share the connection became clearer.   The demand for materials that do not contain such common but harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, asbestos, hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), lead, mercury, bisphenol, halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), Phthalates, Polyvinyl chloride, and arsenic (in wood) is increasing and the tipping point for change is close.

So what does social responsibility have to do with buildings?

The answer is the same. Everything is connected.

Organizations that have increased their sustainability IQ’s have gained a positive return on their investments from more energy and water efficient systems. Building occupants, whether employers, employees, residents or patients have benefited from sustainable building strategies such as more effective air ventilation controls, and low VOC materials. As sustainable practices were occurring, whether based on good business sense or a concern for employees or for the environment, some organizations were also embedding social responsibility into their organizational operations – doing good things for the local community, for charitable causes, or social issues. Those companies with the greatest success where embedding that social responsibility directly into their mission statements and charters as permanent, on going programs for a charity or environmental cause.

So what does that have to do with a building?

Companies function and operate in buildings, which are embedded in communities, from which the employees are hired, and where myriad issues exist or are of a shared concern. Buildings manufacture, produce, consume and extrude things. They use energy, are responsible for carbon output, greenhouse gas, waste, and possibly toxic substances. Socially responsible companies, within those buildings, actively contribute to, and participate in the communities in which they operate. One feature that distinguishes socially responsible corporations, similar to reporting material content, is transparency in reporting sustainability performance and impact on the environment from the work their company performs – both successes and challenges. Authenticity and honesty are critical; and improvements can be reported next year, proving that the company is being managed well and has a good core of committed employees.

What are some good examples of socially responsible companies? There are thousands across the globe – but here are just a few you may know. If you know one we haven’t listed, leave a comment about that company and tell us what you admire about them. We’ll begin a list here and watch the diversity of activities.

  1. Patagonia – Supports sustainable agriculture and other food related programs. Allows purchasers to track their jacket on line to the sheep who “donated” the wool; participates in the 1% for the planet…. And much much more!
  2. Southwest Airlines – Up-cycles used leather seat coverings from the Evolve retrofit into new products to support local communities in several African nations. This pilot will create products that provide access to employment, skills, training and livelihood.  
  3. Tom’s Shoesbegan with the “one for one” campaign. Now a multi-varied program of global programs of services from water to eye glasses to assisted savings. For example, more than 780 million people don’t have access to safe water. TOMS Roasting Co. purchases support water systems in seven countries – in the same regions where they source their coffee beans.
  4. SurveyMonkey Instead of offering cash and prizes to survey takers, Survey Monkey donates 50 cents per survey completion to the taker’s charity of choice. In 2013, the company donated more than $1 million to organizations such as the Humane Society, Boys & Girls Club of America, and Teach for America.
  5. H&M – Takes any used clothing and repurposes it to make new clothes in their factories.

How does your building stack up?  Want help? Contact us today.

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Moving Towards Materials that Matter - Doo Consulting Blog

Moving towards Materials that Matter

On July 8, HDR, Inc., an 8,000 employee global architectural firm, issued a Press Release declaring that they are giving notice to all product manufacturers with whom they do business that they will be expecting Health Product Declarations (HPD) or Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for building products and materials. An HPD is a disclosure of information regarding building product content and associated health information, that defines the critical information that is needed by building designers, specifiers, owners and users. A schedule has been set in a letter to the manufacturers, dated June 17, 2013, that these HPDs and EPDs will be provided by January 1, 2014, in order for sales representatives to be able to make presentations to the HDR staff, a common practice in the design industry. Companies who have provided this information by January 1, 2015, will receive preferential consideration for inclusion in project specifications.

While HDR, Inc. has already issued this announcement, a coalition of other large firms are preparing to follow suit. It is my understanding that an announcement by that coalition is due out later this summer. From what I hear, this coalition could represent as much as 30% of global construction.

Why the push for product disclosures? We have known for quite some time that many of the ingredients in the building materials that are used in construction include chemicals that are harmful to human and environmental health either in the manufacturing process or as installed or both. Many of these chemicals are well known to both the building industry and the general public. Chemicals such as mercury, lead and asbestos are already commonly avoided. Others are less familiar such as phthalates, fire retardants, cadmium and formaldehyde. While some of these chemicals are a part of the formula for products for a reason, architects, owners and the general public should be able to decide whether the benefit are worth the risk and whether there are alternatives. The first step to being able to make informed decisions is to be able to have the information in the first place.

There are two primary reasons for this initiative. One is that it is the responsible thing to do to protect the public health. The other is risk mitigation on the part of the design community. That this grassroots initiative, born of a group of design firms getting together to advocate for change, should be happening now is ironic given the hue and cry created by a similar requirement proposed as a part of the next version of LEED. LEED version4, which just passed ballot after a one-year delay and six public comment periods, retained this credit for product ingredient disclosure (which is optional), though it was hard fought.

This initiative is likely to be followed by other entities, large and small. I know of some cities that are considering a similar requirement while companies like Google and others already have chemical restricted material requirements for their buildings. I have contacted several smaller companies that I work with to see if they are aware of this initiative among design firms. When asked what they intend to do, I am impressed with the level of support that I hear. Appropriately cautious, they all intend to watch this carefully.

More than a year ago, while the materials credit debate raged around the early drafts of LEED v4, I predicted that product ingredient transparency would be the next market transformation in the design and construction industry. There was the usual concern about its impact on costs, new product reliability, effects on the building industry in the midst of a recession and so on.

The buildings and environments that we create will now have the opportunity to be healthier and the processes that are employed to create them will be healthier too. These disclosures are going to change what the marketplace will expect and buy. That will, in turn, change how materials are produced and what our products are made of. There will be new jobs in the chemical and manufacturing industries. Demand for healthier interiors in existing buildings will create new opportunities for design and construction. Hats off to the firms that are taking the lead in this important effort.

Another Kind of Reform for Health Care - Doo Consulting Blog

Sustainability: Another Kind Of Reform For Health Care?

Hospital executives, politicians and citizens alike already know that costs and spending on health care are unsustainable. In 2010, more than $2.6 trillion dollars were spent delivering health care in the US, and health care spending is increasing faster than per-capita income. Reform efforts are underway to address the problems, but the challenges are tremendously complex, and require new, creative strategies.

One cost-savings strategy worth talking about is greening health care buildings and operations. Hospital boards, administrators, patients, community residents, politicians, and policy makers could benefit from learning the diverse ways in which these “returns” manifest – particularly when margins for hospitals are so low, and increasingly at risk.

A SUSTAINABLE CHOICE

Estimates for construction on new health care facilities range from $15 to $40 billion per year in the coming years. These new buildings may feature state-of-the-art medical technology, but many health care facilities, especially hospitals, are not designed and built using green building methods. In spite of increasingly available evidence of return on investment data that supports green building, there is still far to go before these design strategies become the norm.

What would happen if hospital executives asked the building industry to take a fresh view of what a hospital could and should be? What if green building standards were followed in the design of all health care facilities? The potential savings from improvements in energy and water use, reduced medical errors, reduced waste and improved patient outcomes is in the billions. Let’s take a look at how that potential can be achieved.

ENERGY

Savings are possible through many facets of sustainable design. Energy is one of the greatest expenses for health care facilities. Hospitals are ’24/7′ operations, so they use twice the amount of energy per square foot compared to office buildings. Through early planning, sustainable design strategies can achieve energy reductions of 12 to 20 percent in any facility – medical arts building, hospital, laboratory. Imagine if the health care industry as a whole were to embrace not only energy conservation but energy integration, in which waste heat or energy is recaptured as an energy source for other areas of the building. Building by building, system by system, and nationwide, the savings would grow from the millions…to the billions of dollars.

WATER

Water is extensively used in hospitals, and is a precious, costly resource – and potable water is often wasted just for equipment cooling purposes. In fact, process water (for chilling, laundry, boilers, etc.) comprises about 75 percent of hospital water use. Reductions in water usage of 20, 30 or 40 percent are now possible through green building technologies – yielding savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for each facility. And, of course, less water usage means less energy usage. When health care profit margins are so small, hospital administrators and other decision makers to know about savings of this magnitude.

HUMAN HEALTH

A green building also means a people-centered building – this means a building that puts a premium on the health, comfort, day lighting and views for the individuals that use the building – either as the employees, visitors or patients. There are an increasing number of studies that can show that avoiding volatile building materials leads to fewer employee sick days, more comfortable environments often result in higher productivity and may even contribute to improvements in patient outcomes, or a sense of “feeling better.”

Using green building techniques and technologies, experienced sustainable design teams can help committed health care organizations to build their facilities affordably, with appropriate sustainability goals. If green building opportunities are discussed, planned and integrated early in the design process, construction costs for building green can be minimized.

IN CONCLUSION

There is no argument that health care costs are increasing; energy costs are rising; water scarcity issues are on the horizon; the population is aging and living longer with more chronic diseases. And even if there were a debate about the cause of climate change, few would refute that there are changes in our climate.

Given these new issues and the green building benefits described above, it is time for a discussion about building more cost-effective, efficient, health care facilities that will ultimately make the health care system more sustainable.

The US Green Building Council Maryland Chapter has organized a program to make the connection between ROI and sustainability, and sustainability and health. It takes place on on September 13th, in Baltimore, Maryland.

THE EVENT

Healthy Buildings/Healthy Hospitals: The Human + Financial Return on Investment

When: September 13th, 2012, 7:30 AM to 11 AM
Where: 750 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Speakers include executives from area hospitals, sharing case studies of LEED Certified and Registered hospitals:

  • Carolyn Core of Anne Arundel Medical Center,
  • David Stokes on behalf of Holy Cross Hospital, and
  • Tony Kelly from Shore Health System
  • Chris Mundell of HKS, author of a program on LEED for Health Care, with national experience designing a variety of LEED certified buildings, including hospitals, will moderate the first panel.

And speakers discussing State and National initiatives for hospitals embracing sustainability:

  • Joan Plisko, Director of Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment discussing the advances in sustainable operations across Maryland hospitals;
  • Seema Wadhwa, Director of the National Healthier Hospitals Initiatives on challenging hospital executives to accept one or more of seven health and sustainability goals in hospitals across the country
  • Rebecca Ruggles from the Maryland Environmental Health Network regarding the impact of environmental issues on health in Baltimore and the wide-scale, collaborative effort in hospitals and schools underway in Baltimore City, and
  • Melissa Gallagher-Rogers from USGBC National discussing LEED for Health Care projects across the country, and the new health initiative at USGBC.

Come participate in this groundbreaking event and be a part of shaping the future of how health care facilities are designed, built and operated.

To register, click here or go to http://bit.ly/USGBCMDHealthyBuildingsHealthyHospitals

For more information, contact Lorraine Doo at 410-207-0682 or at lorraine[at]dooconsulting[dot]net.