In order to accelerate plans towards a healthy and sustainable future, the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) maintains that health and well being must be integrated into a broader systems change approach in buildings and cities.
According to the World Economic Forum’s recent webinar panel around Designing for wellbeing, IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, said: “There’s no choice to be made between planetary and human health. It absolutely has to be both.”
For Fedrizzi, the second wave of sustainability focuses on human performance, and must build on top of the first wave that focused primarily on building performance. The green building movement brought together the energy efficiency market that lowered greenhouse gas emissions of buildings that accelerate climate change, and the WELL Building Standard (WELL) is now repositioning sustainability through a more human-focused lens to advance human health on a global scale.
“Climate change is also a human health issue, from the human costs of a multitude of disasters made even more severe by climate change, to changes in agriculture output, to a related water crisis, and certainly a warming planet that contributes to disease emergence,” Fedrizzi added.
Highlighting how these concepts are becoming even more important given the context of COVID-19, Rachel Gutter, President of IWBI noted the important role that buildings can play in the fight against viruses, and the work of the IWBI Task Force on COVID-19: Prevention and Preparedness, Resilience and Recovery. “We believe that buildings and those that tend to them can be frontline caregivers in this recovery phase, being able to function in and of themselves as agents of public health,” she said.