UL Environment, International WELL Building Institute join to promote healthier buildings

by Brianna Crandall — October 26, 2016 — UL Environment, a business division of UL (Underwriters Laboratories), and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), administrator of the WELL Building Standard, recently announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations in an effort to drive public awareness of, and increase global demand for, healthier buildings.

Combining UL’s expertise in reducing emissions from building materials and furniture with IWBI’s efforts to drive holistic healthy building practices, the organizations will collaborate to limit exposure to harmful chemicals for occupants of buildings while promoting holistic approaches to designing, constructing and operating healthier buildings.

Concern about the health and safety of building occupants has increased in recent years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average American spends almost 90 percent of their time indoors, and indoor air is typically anywhere from two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and in some instances it can be much more. According to the EPA, eliminating the source of emissions and indoor air pollution is the most effective way to improve indoor air quality.

This collaboration between UL Environment and IWBI will utilize programs that reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and promote strategies that improve indoor air quality and the health and well-being of building occupants. In particular, to meet the WELL Building Standard requirements around reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOC), IWBI has approved GREENGUARD Gold Certification as an equivalent label for Feature 04.

GREENGUARD Gold Certification provides one of several options for projects to meet Feature 04 and streamline reporting requirements for low-emitting products. IWBI and UL Environment will also work together to leverage UL’s global network to increase the awareness and uptake of the WELL Building Standard.