The Nation's Mayors Commit to Advancing Healthy Buildings in the Fight Against COVID-19

Jul 1, 2020 9:40 AM ET
Summary: 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors pass a resolution encouraging communities around the country to take action by advancing integrated solutions, such as the WELL Building Standard and the WELL Health-Safety Rating, to support a healthier and more equitable recovery.

Press Release

NEW YORK – July 1, 2020 /3BL Media/ -- In a sweeping show of support for public health and well-being, mayors from around the country have approved a healthy buildings resolution to better position buildings in the fight against COVID-19, underscoring the leading role buildings and their indoor spaces play in charting a path to healthier and more equitable communities.

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), which represents mayors in over 1,400 cities, passed the resolution Tuesday at the conclusion of its 88th annual meeting. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to understand and advance comprehensive and integrated solutions that will deliver the benefits of healthy buildings to everyone, particularly those in vulnerable communities and high-priority settings, such as senior and assisted living facilities, affordable housing, healthcare facilities, hospitals, and our schools,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, who introduced the resolution alongside fellow mayors from Miami, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Parkland, Florida; Sunrise, Florida; and St. Petersburg, Florida. “It may be surprising for many to learn that we spend approximately 90 percent of our lives in buildings and that the places where we live and work have a profound impact on our health. But that connection has never been clearer than it is today, and as mayors, we are heeding the challenge to support better buildings that will help people thrive.”

Buildings can play a leading role in supporting human health and well-being, including how communities prepare for and respond to this global pandemic. A growing body of research demonstrates that better building design and management practices can help to reduce respiratory issues, such as asthma and allergies, and mitigate the transmission of viruses, including COVID-19. 

“Mayors have always been innovators. In 2013, the nation’s mayors passed a seminal healthy buildings resolution, recognizing the important action we can take to improve people’s health through better buildings and acknowledging specifically the role of the emergent WELL Building Standard (WELL),” said Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). “Today, as we take on the defining global health crisis of our time, mayors have once again stepped up to embrace integrated, evidence-based building solutions that are absolutely critical in the fight against COVID-19.” 

The resolution, “Advancing Healthy Buildings in the Fight Against COVID-19,” encourages communities to lead by example by taking action through the adoption of healthy building strategies and tools for public buildings, citing the WELL Building Standard, the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management and Green Communities 2020. The resolution also encourages city leaders to utilize these tools in affordable housing and private building projects receiving public funding or support.

“Through the vehicle of WELL, we have the means to position our buildings, and those who tend to them, as front-line caregivers in COVID-19 response and recovery,” said Rachel Gutter, President of IWBI. “By finding ways to deploy WELL and the recently launched WELL Health-Safety Rating, cities can ensure they are at the forefront of combating COVID-19 and advancing public health for all.”

Earlier this month, IWBI announced the WELL Health-Safety Rating for all building and facility types, an evidence-based, third-party verified rating focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagement and emergency plans to address a post COVID-19 environment. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is one of the earliest outcomes of IWBI’s Task Force on COVID-19, a group of nearly 600 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals, which was established in late March to help guide IWBI’s response to the pandemic.

Since its inception, IWBI has been driving forward the convergence of building science and health science. Registrations under the WELL Building Standard, the premier framework for advancing health in buildings and spaces of all kinds, have already surpassed 580 million square feet across 62 countries. The WELL movement has been further amplified by over 12,000 WELL Accredited Professionals (APs) and registrants across the globe.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each year, during its annual conference, USCM approves a range of resolutions. These policy positions adopted collectively represent the views of the nation’s mayors and are distributed to the President of the United States and Congress.

About the International WELL Building Institute
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is leading the global movement to transform our buildings, communities and organizations in ways that help people thrive. The WELL v2 pilot is the latest version of its popular WELL Building Standard (WELL), and the WELL Community Standard pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities. WELL is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings and communities, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness. IWBI mobilizes the wellness community through management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and wellness everywhere. IWBI is a participant of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative, and helps companies advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the use of WELL. More information on WELL can be found here.

International WELL Building Institute, IWBI, the WELL Building Standard, WELL v2, WELL Certified, WELL AP, WELL Portfolio, WELL Portfolio Score, The WELL Conference, We Are WELL, the WELL Community Standard, WELL Health-Safety Rating, WELL Health-Safety Rated, WELL Workforce, WELL and others, and their related logos are trademarks or certification marks of International WELL Building Institute pbc in the United States and other countries.