Weekly Wellness Wednesday, courtesy of our Sustainability Studio

Each week, Sustainability Coordinator Elena Nansen LEED AP BD+C & WELL AP is presenting a WELL Building Standard Certification. The WELL Building Standard is a performance based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Operable Windows

Elena let us know that this WELL Building feature requires buildings with operable windows to increase the supply of high-quality outdoor air and promote a connection to the outdoor environment by encouraging building users to open windows when outdoor air quality is acceptable. Inhalation of harmful indoor substances is correlated with adverse health outcomes such as infectious diseases, cancer, asthma, allergies and other respiratory infections.



The WELL Building Standard states that achieving natural ventilation through open windows can provide a positive human experience but it is a challenge to be able to maintain strict control over interior air quality. Studies have shown that naturally ventilated buildings have fewer people reporting “sick building syndrome” symptoms than mechanically conditioned buildings. Studies have also shown that there is a 7.7% productivity benefit associated with naturally ventilated spaces. When weather local outdoor parameters indicate high-quality outdoor air, people should be encouraged to make use of natural ventilation strategies such as operable window opening.



To meet WELL Building Standards the project must meet one of:

a) At least 75% of regularly occupied spaces have operable windows that provide access to outdoor air.

b) The openable window area is equivalent to at least 4% of the net occupied floor area of that space.


c) Project does not use radiant cooling systems if situated in climates with an annual relative humidity above 70%.

For All Spaces

All operable windows in regularly occupied spaces must:

  1. Provide enough space to permit occupants to approach and operate them from both a standing and seated position.
  2. Are operable with one hand and with a closed fist and do not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist.
  3. Require less than 5 pounds of force to open.

More to come next week, stay tuned!