Health & Wellness continue to be Doo Consulting focus

Health & Wellness continue to be Doo Consulting focus

Lorraine Doo received her Fitwel Ambassador credential last month. Lorraine loves the Fitwel program, and found that the program’s features and strategies resonated with her for existing buildings in particular, where occupants can gain so much benefit, and be engaged in the whole process. It is part of the evolution of a mindset change that has been underway, and this has been a missing piece. Thank you General Services Administration (GSA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC)!!

Lorraine also enjoyed learning the WELL standard and maintaining that accreditation is a commitment and priority.  We would be happy to help anyone try to achieve that certification, which is a monumental commitment to be sure.

“The Fitwel program is such a beautiful synergy of the focus on occupant health, owner priorities and the building components, without the fear of cost and prescriptiveness. It is designed that way. The features and requirements are appropriate, scientific, practical and affordable. It’s a logical win-win-win in every way.” Lorraine is clearly excited about being a Fitwel ambassador, and eager to help interested people understand how it works and how to achieve it – in their own building or one they are designing or managing for someone else. It’s not that it is “too easy, it requires effort and change… but it is absolutely doable.”  The occupants benefit in a variety of ways as do the owners. It brings long-term benefits to everyone, in a reasonable time frame, and affordably.

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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