Making the case for wellness in real estate
Colorado has earned a reputation as one of the most health-conscious places in the United States – and for good reason. From the endless bounty of outdoor activities and fitness studios, paired with a positive attitude toward healthy living, the state is leading the wellness charge one ski run, yoga class and smoothie bowl at a time.
And although many Coloradans associate regular exercise and wholesome eating with a healthy lifestyle (they’re not wrong), there’s still one major element of the wellness mix that’s often overlooked: the buildings and spaces where we live, work, learn and play.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends approximately 90% of their time indoors. Complicating matters, a recent report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) revealed that the way our homes have been built over the last century is reinforcing a lifestyle that makes us sick, stressed, alienated and unhappy when, ideally, our home should be the ultimate sanctuary – a place to re-charge, relax and maintain our well-being.
While sustainable building certification programs have transformed the building industry, the idea of promoting human health and wellness, in addition to sustainable design, still has a long way to go.
However, with a double dose of science and education, developers and homeowners alike can push the concept of wellness real estate forward in a meaningful way. One comprehensive solution? The WELL Building Standard, a performance-based program that uses evidence-based medical and scientific research alongside best practices in design and construction to create healthier spaces.
Addressing Wellness in Real Estate Concerns
Consumer demand for wellness in real estate is on the rise globally, with more than 1 million potential buyers searching for homes each year that will help them achieve their own personal health and wellness goals, according to the GWI.
Unfortunately, limited inventory has made it difficult for buyers to act while many developers have remained on the sidelines, citing increased construction costs, limited evidence and added challenges to the design process.
Lakehouse, for example, is Colorado’s first project to pilot and pursue WELL Building Certification. When the community opens later this year, residents will experience an environment that seeks to mitigate the negative impacts of the built environment and encourage conscious decision-making that can support physical and mental well-being, including extensive fitness facilities, access to a professionally-managed urban farm and MERV-13 air filtration for enhanced air quality.
Bringing Wellness in Real Estate Home
While the WELL Building Standard is designed for a variety of industry segments, including office, commercial, educational and multi-family, anyone can apply the program’s basic wellness elements to their home – elements like air and water quality, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
Here are seven tips from Realwell on ways to make your home healthier:
- Air: Make a point to keep windows open to allow for fresh air flow, while being cognizant of daily changes to air quality. Accessorize with indoor plants like a Norfolk Pine or Silver Satin Pothos to promote an enhanced connection to nature and help purify the air through the removal of harmful VOCs, formaldehyde and xylene.
- Water: Encourage your family to hydrate with reusable water bottles. Add filtration systems to faucets, changing filters regularly to optimize performance.
- Nourishment: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your children how to choose produce and talk through the nutritional qualities of the food you eat together.
- Light: Keep your window coverings open whenever possible to bathe your home in natural sunlight and use energy-efficient LED lighting to adjust light levels throughout the day.
- Fitness: Store your fitness and outdoor gear in an easily accessible location in your home to encourage regular use.
- Comfort: Use blackout shades at night to produce an optimal sleep environment and utilize softer materials when decorating to help absorb sound.
- Mind: Create dedicated spaces within your home to meditate or read alone. Social interaction is important too, so don’t forget to invite friends or family over at least once a month.
As a $134 billion global industry, all eyes are on the wellness in real estate sector. While the current – and anticipated – growth is promising, it will be up to Colorado developers, tenants and homeowners to place holistic wellness atop the priority list.
To learn more about the trend of wellness in real estate read ColoradoBiz magazine’s Sept/Oct Real Estate Report.
Brian Levitt is the president and co-founder of NAVA Real Estate Development, a Colorado-based investment and development firm focused on legacy development projects that drive financial and social value.