Compare LEED vs WELL – Which Certification is Right for You?

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leed vs well

Regarding healthy and sustainable buildings, LEED vs WELL. Two of the most well-known and respected standards in the construction sector. However, can you determine which certification is ideal for you? To help you choose which of the two standards—LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the WELL Building Standard—best fits your goals, we’ll compare them in this article.

Reducing the negative impact a building has on the environment is the primary emphasis of LEED, which gives special attention to energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable materials. On the other hand, the WELL certification is about creating settings that promote human health and wellbeing. Concepts of the WELL standard for things like mind, lighting, water and air quality.

Your specific objectives will determine the ideal certification for you since each has unique requirements and benefits. LEED focuses on sustainability. Alternatively, are you attempting to create a space focused on people’s comfort and wellbeing? In such case, the WELL certification can be the best choice.

Knowing the differences between LEED vs WELL will enable you to choose with knowledge and in line with your goals and principles. Let us now look more closely at these certifications to see which one suits you the best.

Leed 1

LEED Certification Overview

The well-known green building certification standard was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides a framework for planning, constructing, managing, and maintaining environmentally sustainable buildings.

Among other aspects of a building’s environmental impact, the LEED certification covers energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, and sustainable materials. Buildings are categorized into Certified up to Platinum certification levels based on the number of points they get in certain categories.

Whereas if you are looking to become LEED accredited then you would need to learn the LEED categories, such as Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Take on a test to showcase you understand the LEED certification process.

There are 2 accreditation levels mainly which are the LEED Green Associate that does not go into calculations and too much memorization and the LEED AP that focuses on specialties and goes deeper into the certification process where you would need to do simple calculations and formulas to showcase you know how to achieve a certain credit.

Well ap training

WELL Certification Overview

Improving human health and well-being in the built environment is the aim of the performance-based certification program known as the WELL Building Standard. It is a comprehensive approach for improving wellbeing in buildings, developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

WELL certification covers several aspects of human health, such as mind, nourishment, thermal comfort, community, water and air quality. The goal is to improve general quality of life, mental and physical health, and productivity for occupants in a project.

If you wish to become a WELL AP then the process is similar to LEED. You should pass the official exam showcasing you understand the concepts of WELL and the certification process.

Difference between LEED vs WELL

While creating sustainable and healthy buildings is the same goal for both LEED vs WELL certifications, there are some notable differences between the two standards. They deviate mainly in their concentration zones. The main focus of LEED is on how a building affects the environment, with a focus on energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable materials. On the other hand, the WELL standard places more emphasis on the health and well-being of people and tackles issues with lighting, air and water quality, and occupant fitness.

Having said that, the 2 certifications do not compete but complement each other. New construction nowdays are applying for both certifications to create a project both low impact. sustainable and healthy for the occupants inside.

While the LEED certification is more commonly known and utilized globally, the WELL certification is still relatively new and growing in popularity. Millions of square feet of building area have received LEED certification since 1998. However, WELL, which was introduced in 2014, has expanded rapidly in the last several years. Making the WELL certification one of the most growing standards both for building professionals and healthcare as well.

LEED Certification Benefits and Requirements

The environment, building owners, building professionals and tenants benefit from the LEED certification. The following are some major benefits of obtaining LEED certification:

  1. Environmental Impact: A green building/ LEED certified project has less negative impact on the environment when compared to a conventional project. With features like energy-efficient HVAC, lighting, and insulation systems, they are designed with energy efficiency in mind. By using techniques like rainwater collection and low-flow fixtures, they also encourage water conservation.
  2. Cost Savings: Over the course of their lifespan, LEED-certified buildings may result in considerable cost savings. Lower utility costs are a consequence of water- and energy-saving features. Furthermore, LEED-certified structures can be eligible for subsidies, incentives and tax breaks.
  3. Health and Well-Being: Although the environmental effect is the main emphasis of LEED, interior environmental quality is also addressed, and this may positively affect occupant health and well-being. Better interior air quality, more natural light, and more agreeable temperatures are often seen in LEED-certified buildings. It is surely not address as much as the WELL certification but surely take on the fundamentals for a green building.
  4. Marketability and Branding: In the business, LEED accreditation is well-known and esteemed. It may improve a professional’s marketability just like buildings. Drawing in employers, clients that appreciate green building knowledge and understanding of the LEED certification process.
Leed certified building, the crystal in london

WELL Certification Benefits and Requirements

WELL certification provides several benefits in particular the need of creating settings that prioritize health and wellness with the following main advantages:

  1. Occupant health: Buildings certified by the WELL standard prioritize elements that directly impact the occupant wellness. Their top goals are to improve the indoor air quality, let in natural light, keep the temperature appropriate, and design spaces that support both physical and mental wellness.
  2. Improved Performance and Productivity: In a healthy environment, people could operate more effectively and productively. Designing settings that support overall health, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function. All of which raise enjoyment and productivity, which is the aim of WELL-certified buildings.
  3. Stand out: Becoming a WELL AP means you understand how to design and construct a project that supports the occupant mind, nourishment, health and performance which is what employers and clients are looking for. To support mental health which is a competitive advantage.

Factors to Consider When Choosing between LEED vs WELL

When deciding between WELL and LEED certifications for your project, take into account:

  • Goals and Highest Priorities: Determine what the major goals of your project are. If reducing environmental impact and maximizing energy efficiency are your top priorities, LEED could be a better option. A WELL certification might be more appropriate if the main objective is to provide residents a supportive and healthy atmosphere. Most projects today are applying for both since they do not compete but compliment.
  • Project scope: Of course, certain projects are more suited for one certification than another. For example, commercial office buildings may benefit from WELL certification because it places a strong focus on occupant health and well-being, but large-scale residential complexes may find LEED certification more suitable due to its emphasis on energy efficiency. Healthcare projects are targeting both, to support patient well-being with ultimate care and health while still having an efficient high performance project.
  • Budget: Both LEED and WELL certifications come with additional design and construction requirements, certification costs, and consulting expenses. On average just for registration a project should pay around 3,000$ each and according to size the fees will be calculated. Consider roughly around 50,000$ give and take for each certification process. Not considering consulting expenses and other costs like sustainable materials.
  • Demand: LEED has been around much longer and is more recognized. If your project is heavily focused on branding and marketability, then obtaining LEED certification can be more advantageous. However, WELL certification is gaining popularity and might be particularly appealing in locations where occupant health and well-being are strongly valued. According to your project location and how it each certification is perceived in the region would impact your choice.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Certification for Your Project

Which to choose LEED vs WELL, mainly will depend on the goals, key priorities, recognition in the region. Should reducing energy use and its environmental impact be your primary objectives, LEED certification may be a better choice.

WELL certification, however, could be more suitable if the health and welfare of the tenants are the top concerns. Consider factors like your goals, the kind of the project, the budget, stakeholders needs, and the demand in the market when making a decision.

See project stakeholders and professionals to ensure you choose the certification that most closely aligns with your goals and values. Ultimately, better constructions and a more sustainable built environment are produced when one has a LEED vs WELL certification working side by side.


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