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WELLopedia v2 Movement, Thermal Comfort & Sound Concepts

WELLopedia v2: Movement, Thermal Comfort & Sound Concepts

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Unlock a profound grasp of the Movement, Thermal Comfort, and Sound dimensions as delineated in the WELL Building Standard v2. This module not only elucidates the intrinsic connection between these architectural aspects and human health, wellness, and performance but also unveils strategies for sculpting indoor spaces that champion optimal kinetic activity, deliver thermal harmony, and guarantee an ambient sonic milieu.

Throughout this transformative journey, immerse yourself in the intricacies of the Movement, Thermal Comfort & Sound paradigms integral to the WELL Building Standard v2. By the end, you will be adept at discerning how innovative architectural designs, forward-thinking policies, and holistic programs converge to encourage physical dynamism, fortify acoustical serenity, and fine-tune ambient thermal settings, thereby fostering the holistic wellness of the inhabitants. Supplementing theoretical knowledge, we offer a hands-on exploration of these principles, contextualized within a tangible project, ensuring you are well-equipped to infuse these concepts seamlessly into your architectural blueprints.

Additionally, this module stands as a proud pillar of GBRI’s WELLopedia Series: The ins and outs of the WELL Building Standard v2. Engage with this course either as a unique learning venture or as a chapter in our expansive series, tailored to both your curiosity and professional development objectives.

Delve deep into the Thermal Comfort concept of the WELL Building Standard v2 and understand its crucial role in enhancing occupant health, well-being, and productivity. This course will offer an in-depth exploration of how environmental design, policies, and programs can optimize thermal conditions in indoor spaces. Through a practical examination of this feature within a real-world project, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to integrate Thermal Comfort principles effectively in your building projects. Those eager to deepen their understanding have the option to engage with this course as an individual unit or as part of the broader series. Completing the entire series paves the way to earning the coveted title of GBRI’s Wellness Ambassador. For those who might be unfamiliar, GBRI is a pioneering online educational platform. It gamifies the learning experience around sustainability and is firmly rooted in its mission to make sustainability resources universally accessible.

In today’s architectural landscape, the importance of crafting spaces that nurture the auditory senses is paramount. Welcome to a module that delves deep into the intricate nexus between sound, human health, and the built environment. This course is designed to provide you with a robust understanding of the sound concepts embedded within the WELL Building Standard v2, offering a window into how soundscapes influence occupant health, comfort, and overall productivity.

As we journey through this comprehensive module, we will venture beyond the superficial layers, demystifying the delicate balance of acoustics in the modern architectural realm. We’ll explore a harmonious and holistic approach that speaks to the very essence of acoustical comfort. Drawing upon a rich tapestry of research-driven insights, you’ll be equipped to discern and deploy key design strategies, ensuring that buildings not only look good but sound even better, catering to the acoustic well-being of those within. From sound masking to acoustic zoning, every corner of the sonic spectrum will be touched upon, giving you the tools and knowledge to design, or retrofit spaces that sing in harmony with human needs.

Whether you’re homing in on a singular topic or journeying through the entire WELLopedia Series, this course stands as both an autonomous exploration and an integral fragment of GBRI’s “WELLopedia Series: Deciphering the WELL Building Standard v2.” Tailor your learning experience to your passion or professional commitment, as this course flexibly caters to both stand-alone learners and those on a broader educational odyssey.


  1. Delve into the role of kinetic activity in built environments and its significance for human health.
  2. Comprehend the importance of ambient thermal conditions in shaping occupant comfort and satisfaction.
  3. Investigate techniques for optimizing thermal comfort through innovative building design and systems.
  4. Understand the impact of acoustical ambiance on occupant well-being and performance.
  5. Engage with real-world scenarios to solidify the practical application of Movement, Thermal Comfort & Sound principles.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the integration of Movement, Thermal Comfort, and Sound concepts within the WELL Building Standard v2.
  7. To champion the broader objectives of the WELL Building standard, emphasizing the holistic approach to wellness and movement.
  8. Understand the core principles behind the Thermal Comfort concept of the WELL Building Standard v2.
  9. Explore the significance of optimized thermal conditions in promoting occupant health, well-being, and productivity.
  10. Examine how environmental design, policies, and programs can be tailored to enhance indoor thermal conditions.
  11. Engage in practical application by studying the integration of the Thermal Comfort concept within a real-world project.
  12. Acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to implement Thermal Comfort principles effectively in various building projects.
  13. Familiarize oneself with GBRI’s WELLopedia Series and identify where the Thermal Comfort course fits within the broader context of the WELL Building Standard v2.
  14. Understand the pivotal role sound plays in the WELL Building Standard, especially in relation to acoustical comfort and overall well-being.
  15. Identify varied noise sources and grasp their diverse impacts, ranging from sleep disruption to cognitive effects.
  16. Delve into the multifaceted properties of sound, from basic vibrations to the transmission mechanics across materials.
  17. Differentiate and apply the concepts of various acoustic zones, such as loud, quiet, mixed, and circulation areas in architectural settings.
  18. Navigate with proficiency through essential sound metrics like Sound Pressure Level (SPL), decibels (dB), A-weighted decibels (dBA), and classifications like Noise Isolation Class (NIC) and Sound Transmission Class (STC).
  19. Implement strategies to counteract challenges like reverberation and echo, ensuring clearer speech and improved acoustical comfort in built environments.


WELLOPEDIA, Movement, WELL Building Standard, GBRI, Wellness Ambassador, fitness, Key terms associated with this concept include physical activity, cardiovascular, muscle-strengthening, ergonomics, walkability, public transportation, pedestrian-friendly streets, cycle lanes, wearables, self-monitoring, signages, staircases, active furnishings, fitness centers, promotional programs, physical inactivity, chronic health conditions, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, well-being, community amenities, parks, bicycle lanes, onsite fitness facilities, local facilities, outdoor spaces, and ergonomic workstations.

Acoustical Comfort, WELL Building Standards, Sound Concept, Noise Sources, Sound Mapping, Ambient Background Noise, HVAC Equipment, Reverberation Time, Sound Reducing Surfaces, Acoustical Absorption, Speech Privacy, Sound Barriers, Sound Transmission, STC (Sound Transmission Class), NIC (Noise Isolation Class), Ambient Noise Levels, Sound Isolation, Exterior Noise Intrusion, Occupant Health, Acoustical Design, Sound Exposure, Performance Verification, Speech Intelligibility, Minimum Background Sound, Indoor Air Quality.WELL Building Standards, Thermal Comfort, Indoor air quality, Health and well-being, Energy efficiency, GBRI Community Center, Thermal zoning, Radiant temperature, Humidity control Occupant satisfaction, Musculoskeletal health, Thermal Performance Survey, Sick building syndrome, ASHRAE 55, Personal thermal comfort devices, Outdoor shading, Operable windows



Movement, Thermal Comfort & Sound Concepts

Abstract Movement Concept

In today's fast-paced world, the value of physical fitness is more crucial than ever. Yet, modern transport and sedentary occupations have inadvertently set a course where millions fail to maintain basic activity levels, leading to health issues such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions. One overlooked aspect influencing physical activity is our immediate built environment. Features such as walkable neighborhoods, accessibility to mass transit, fitness facility proximity, and even staircase design in buildings can greatly affect how active we are.

The CDC defines fitness as efficiently handling daily tasks without unwarranted fatigue, all while having the energy for leisure and emergencies. Despite this knowledge, it's startling that global data from 2016 indicated that nearly 23% of adults are physically inactive, presenting a pressing public health challenge. Recommendations from organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five times a week, accompanied by bi-weekly muscle-strengthening exercises.

Within this context, the WELL Building Standard’s Movement concept emerges as a beacon, advocating for integrating physical activity into our daily lives. By harnessing the principles of environmental design, policies, and initiatives, it envisions creating spaces where opportunities for movement are an intrinsic part of our habitats and societal fabric. For those seeking in-depth details on the WELL v2 (Q4 2022) and further developments, the official IWBI website at https://v2.wellcertified.com/en/wellv2/overview is an invaluable resource.

The concept under discussion incorporates ten features. Specifically, two are mandatory preconditions for certification, while eight serve as optional optimizations.

Preconditions (2)
  1. Active Buildings and Communities
  1. Ergonomic Workstation Design
Optimization (8)
  1. Circulation Network
  1. Facilities for Active Occupants
  1. Site Planning and Selection
  1. Physical Activity Opportunities
  1. Active Furnishings
  1. Physical Activity Spaces and Equipment
  1. Physical Activity Promotion
  1. Self-Monitoring


  1. Active Buildings and Communities: Physical inactivity contributes to premature death and chronic ailments, such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers, among others. Astonishingly, 23% of adults globally were inactive as of 2016. Regrettably, our infrastructures—from homes to transport systems—promote less movement. The WELL feature mandates that projects embrace specific design-based optimizations. Its purpose? To integrate various forms of movement and diminish sedentary behaviors via strategic design.
  2. Ergonomic Workstation Design: In 2016, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were a prime cause of global disability and work-related absences. MSDs result from workplace activities, like heavy lifting or repetitive movements. This precondition aspires to minimize physical strain by endorsing ergonomic workstation designs that promote neutral body postures and offer flexibility between sitting and standing. Moreover, it necessitates that projects equip workstations with adjustable ergonomic features and provide guidance on their usage.
  3. Circulation Network: This isn't about digital networks but networking in person—maybe while ascending a staircase or strolling to a desk. The goal here is to beautify staircases, make them more accessible, and use visual cues to promote their use.
  4. Facilities for Active Occupants: This optimization revolves around establishing infrastructure to boost physical activity. Projects are expected to provide amenities such as bike storage, showers, lockers, and changing areas, supporting those who commute actively and encouraging overall activity.
  5. Site Planning and Selection: Our surroundings, historically, have often leaned towards promoting inactivity, like prioritizing driving. The site's context, including the neighborhood, plays a pivotal role in influencing physical activity choices. The directive? Make the surroundings more walkable and ensure the proximity of public transportation.
  6. Physical Activity Opportunities: Projects should foster no-cost physical activity opportunities overseen by qualified professionals.
  7. Active Furnishings: Sedentary lifestyles lead to various health issues, even neutralizing benefits gained from physical activities. Therefore, projects should include active workstations, like sit-stands or treadmill desks, to promote movement and deter prolonged stationary behaviors.
  1. Physical Activity Spaces and Equipment: While international guidelines emphasize the importance of both cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening activities, a significant segment (about a quarter) of the population doesn't meet these activity standards. Various barriers like time constraints, weather conditions, travel obligations, and the lack of community amenities such as parks and bicycle lanes impact activity levels. To combat this, the WELL directive necessitates that projects offer free access to physical activity spaces, whether through onsite fitness centers, local facilities, or public outdoor areas like parks.
  2. Physical Activity Promotion: Rising chronic health conditions, from type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular diseases, spotlight physical inactivity as a major public health concern. Particularly in young populations, staying active is crucial for holistic development and wellness. Thus, WELL expects projects to roll out physical activity promotional programs and continually track their effectiveness.
  3. Self-Monitoring: Our understanding of the link between physical activity and well-being largely stems from self-reported data, which can often overstate real activity levels. WELL, encourages fostering a heightened self-awareness of health habits. It requires projects to offer or subsidize wearable tech that can keep track of activity patterns and health metrics.

Diving into the GBRI Community Center's strategies, they have astutely chosen their location to optimize walkability and public transportation. They're set to provide both indoor and outdoor areas dedicated to promoting movement. Clear and engaging signages are planned to spur more activity, and staircases are to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Every piece of furniture is being chosen to maximize user comfort, keeping ergonomic considerations in mind. Moreover, wearables for tracking physical activity will be made available to users.

Abstract Thermal Concept

In today's diverse global environment, our perceptions of thermal comfort vary widely. At this very moment, some of us might feel too hot, others too cold, and a few just right. It's striking to realize that research has found only 11% of U.S. office buildings offer thermal conditions that align with the standards of human satisfaction. An astounding 41% of office occupants have expressed discomfort with their thermal environment. Such findings underscore the profound influence thermal comfort exerts on our daily experiences, especially in our living and working spaces. It not only shapes our levels of motivation, alertness, and mood but also underscores the importance of acknowledging that comfort is subjective. What might be comfortable for one person might not be for another, emphasizing the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach.

The WELL Building Standard v2 serves as a foundational system, dedicated to evaluating, certifying, and consistently monitoring those aspects of our constructed environments that significantly impact human health and overall well-being. Within this standard, the Thermal Comfort module, presented by GBRI and its team of experts, emerges as a focal point. This module seamlessly integrates with the WELLOPEDIA Series, shedding light on the intricate facets of the WELL Building Standard v2. Taking a closer look, the WELL Thermal Comfort approach offers a well-rounded perspective on thermal well-being. It employs research-backed interventions to guide architectural designs that cater to individual thermal preferences while championing holistic health, well-being, and productivity. The goal is clear: optimize HVAC system designs and cater to diverse thermal preferences to maximize human productivity and ensure every individual experiences optimal thermal comfort.

Delving further into the features of the WELL Thermal Comfort concept, it encompasses seven distinct features. One of these is a mandatory precondition essential for certification, while the other six offer optional optimizations. In our journey, we'll also explore two beta features, adding layers to our understanding.

Top of Form

Preconditions (1)
  1. Thermal Performance
Optimization (6)
  1. Verified Thermal Comfort
  1. Thermal Zoning
  1. Individual Thermal Control
  1. Radiant Thermal Comfort
  1. Thermal Comfort Monitoring
  1. Humidity Control


  1. Thermal Performance: The indoor thermal environment profoundly affects numerous body systems, leading to several health implications. For instance, overly warm indoor conditions correlate with symptoms of the sick building syndrome, erratic heart rates, respiratory complications, fatigue, and negative moods. Cold environments can exacerbate efforts to maintain proper posture and can risk long-term musculoskeletal health. Recognizing that the indoor thermal setting ranks as a paramount factor affecting human satisfaction, this precondition emphasizes creating an environment that the majority deem acceptable. It mandates projects to foster thermal conditions promoting health, well-being, and productivity.
  2. Verified Thermal Comfort: Established standards denote that a building's thermal ambiance should satisfy at least 80% of its occupants. Despite these guidelines, only a small percentage of U.S. office buildings hit the mark. This optimization seeks to augment thermal comfort and human productivity by ensuring an overwhelming majority perceives their setting as thermally agreeable. It involves conducting occupant satisfaction surveys to gauge comfort levels.
  3. Thermal Zoning: It's universally acknowledged that satisfaction with one's thermal environment boosts productivity. This WELL feature urges projects to elevate thermal control within spaces, enabling either adjustments within thermal zones or transitions between them.
  4. Individual Thermal Comfort: Numerous factors determine thermal comfort. Given the multifaceted nature of comfort, standard measures, like ASHRAE 55, might not suffice for everyone. Secondary influencers, including age, gender, health status, and even cultural norms, play pivotal roles. This WELL feature emphasizes individual thermal comfort, championing personal comfort devices and flexible dress codes.
  5. Radiant Thermal Comfort: Mean radiant temperature, a core thermal comfort parameter, is influenced by surface materials and surrounding objects' temperatures. Issues arise from cold windows or inadequate heating panels. Studies suggest that spaces with radiant systems provide better temperature satisfaction. This optimization seeks to utilize radiant heating and cooling systems for enhanced comfort.
  6. Thermal Comfort Monitoring: Adverse thermal conditions, encompassing heat, humidity, and ventilation, can be detrimental, causing irritations and discomfort. This WELL feature compels projects to install sensors for real-time monitoring, aiding building managers and users in timely interventions.
  7. Humidity Control: While humidity might be inconsequential within comfortable temperature ranges, it becomes pivotal in warmer settings. Excessive humidity can inhibit the body's cooling mechanism, encourage mold growth, and even foster pathogen accumulation. This WELL feature mandates maintaining optimal humidity levels for overall well-being.
  8. Beta Feature - Enhanced Operable Windows: Operable windows enhance indoor air quality and thermal comfort. However, they can be a double-edged sword, especially when outdoor conditions are unfavorable. This optimization endorses windows that can be adjusted for desired air flows, contingent on external temperatures.

To offer insights into practical implementation, the GBRI Community Center has devised various strategies within the Thermal Comfort Concept. They encompass thermal zoning with thermostat control, individual heating-cooling options, dress code flexibility, real-time thermal comfort monitoring, radiant heating and cooling systems, humidity control measures, performance surveys, window designs, outdoor shading, and access to outdoor nature. Each strategy is meticulously chosen to ensure the highest standards of thermal comfort, contributing to the health and well-being of all occupants.

Abstract Sound Concept

Just as thermal comfort is intrinsic to our well-being, the acoustical comfort of a space, defined by the overall satisfaction of its occupants, holds similar importance. Research has underscored that noise from external sources such as traffic and transportation can have detrimental effects on health and well-being. For instance, internally generated noise can lead to significant dissatisfaction among occupants. Moreover, prolonged exposure to specific noise sources has been associated with conditions like sleep disturbance, hypertension, and diminished cognitive abilities in children. Some studies have even revealed a correlation between noise exposures and increased risks for conditions like myocardial infarction in certain demographics.

Beyond airborne disturbances, acoustical challenges aren't confined. Impact noises, originating from activities such as footfall or mechanical vibrations, can disrupt nearby occupants. Another widely observed acoustical issue in enclosed spaces is the lack of sound privacy, which can lead to unintentional transmission of conversations, potentially compromising confidentiality and introducing unwarranted distractions.

The internationally recognized WELL Building Standard offers a performance-based system for evaluating and certifying built environments in terms of human health and well-being. Within this standard, the WELL Sound concept presents a systematic and comprehensive strategy to address acoustical comfort issues. Grounded in research, it lays out specific design considerations for buildings to enhance the health and comfort of occupants. The concept comprises six features: one is a mandatory precondition for certification, while five others are optional optimizations. Detailed insights into each feature would elucidate their significance and applicability further.Top of Form

Preconditions (1)
  1. Sound Mapping
Optimization (6)
  1. Maximum Noise Levels
  1. Sound Barriers
  1. Reverberation Time
  1. Sound Reducing Surfaces
  1. Minimum Background Sound


  1. Sound Mapping

Open workspaces can provide a collaborative environment, but as noise levels from internal or external sources rise, they can turn counterproductive. A staggering 99% of UK employees identified that poor acoustical comfort impeded their concentration. Surprisingly, heightened noise conditions even reduce collaboration. The primary goal of Sound Mapping is to strategize against acoustic disturbances. Projects are necessitated to pinpoint and strategize against potentially disruptive noise sources in interior spaces.

  1. Maximum Noise Levels
    Every space is privy to some ambient background noise, whether from HVAC systems, external elements like traffic, or other building amenities. If these combined noises breach comfort levels, it affects the space's core functionality. The purpose of this optimization is to ensure such noises don't compromise occupant well-being. As a safeguard, there are rigorous thresholds for ambient noise, all reinforced by meticulous performance verification protocols.
  2. Sound Barriers
    The transmission of sound between rooms, if unchecked, can be a significant source of annoyance, sometimes even impacting mental well-being. Ensuring sound privacy becomes especially paramount in spaces like bedrooms or classrooms. Addressing this, the Sound Barriers feature stipulates that walls and doors maintain a set level of sound insulation, ensuring enhanced speech privacy.
  3. Reverberation Time
    A key acoustical concept is reverberation, essentially the persistence of sound after its source halts. Several factors, from room dimensions to surface properties, influence its duration. Importantly, reverberation isn't an echo. While the former is a continuous sound perception, the latter is when the same sound gets perceived twice, registered as separate occurrences by the human brain.
  4. Sound Reducing Surfaces
    Spaces with escalated reverberation due to a lack of acoustical absorption amplify noise perception. Especially in rooms equipped for teleconferencing or those with amplified sound equipment, the absence of acoustical treatments can be overtly disruptive. The intent behind Sound Reducing Surfaces is to encourage the use of sound-absorbing/blocking materials, facilitating concentration, and limiting reverberation.
  5. Minimum Background Sound
    Creating a consistent, ambient background sound can significantly enhance acoustical privacy, a feature crucial in places like offices or patient rooms. This optimization underscores the creation of such a background sound, especially vital where speech confidentiality is of the essence.

To effectively implement these sound concepts, the 'GBRI Community Centre' project should begin with Sound Mapping, ensuring acoustic zones are labeled and an acoustic design plan is in place. Interior noise can be controlled by opting for quieter HVAC systems and system designs that minimize duct sound. Soundproofing elements, such as façades and windows, can combat external noises. For barriers, the focus should be on high STC walls and specialist products for doorways. And in addressing reverberation, the us


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