IWBI Releases Case Study on Innovative Multifamily Residential Project

The study of NAVA’s Lakehouse explores the benefits of WELL Certification, and introduces an ROI tool to help organizations of all kinds better assess the economic costs and benefits of healthy buildings
Sep 18, 2023 9:00 AM ET

NEW YORK and DENVER, September 18, 2023 /3BL/ - The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the global authority for driving market transformation through healthy buildings, organizations and communities, today released the Lakehouse case study, which demonstrates how an organization can utilize WELL to reach their health and well-being goals.

Focused on NAVA Real Estate Development’s (NAVA) Lakehouse, a for-sale mixed-use multifamily residential project in Denver, Colorado, the publication explores the successes and challenges encountered throughout the process, as well as the economic costs and benefits observed following the organization’s WELL Certification achievement.

As one of the first multifamily residential projects in the US to achieve WELL Certification, Lakehouse’s analysis demonstrated that WELL Certification helped the project stand out in comparison to other developments. The property's health and wellness-focused design and amenities attracted significant interest, resulting in favorable sales prices for the condos and competitive rent prices for its on-site retail spaces.

The case study considers the process of WELL Certification through the lens of four concepts within the WELL Building Standard – Air, Light, Nourishment and Fitness (Movement under WELL v2). To fulfill some of the requirements under the Air concept, Lakehouse is equipped with a MERV-13 building air filtration system, which helps support optimal indoor air quality. Additionally, healthy building entrances, with walk-off systems, help to mitigate particle pollution upon entry into the building. In terms of Light, Lakehouse was designed with an exterior façade that is 55% glass, allowing for clear views of Sloan’s Lake, downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains, as well as helping maximize daylight within the residences and common areas. Floor-to-ceiling low emissivity, performance glass windows also helped increase sunlight in interior spaces, while minimizing heat transmission and visual glare discomfort.

“It’s exciting to see an organization like NAVA embrace WELL and work so diligently to ensure that residents are benefiting from its evidence-based health and well-being interventions,” said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO of IWBI. “By sharing this case study, which highlights NAVA’s own health leadership in the multifamily sector, we’re able share lessons from their experience and inspire others to take their own WELL journey.”

On Nourishment and Fitness, Lakehouse includes a professionally managed organic urban farm that produces 1,700+- pounds of produce each season, depending on the crop variety, and an indoor wellness center overlooking Sloan’s Lake, which includes a fitness lab for strength training and cardio workouts and a yoga and meditation studio, allowing for year-round programming.

These four concepts represent a portion of WELL requirements that were leveraged to achieve WELL Certification, a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being. WELL includes a set of strategies—backed by the latest scientific research—that aim to advance human health through design interventions and operational protocols and policies and foster a culture of health and well-being.

Through a three-year study conducted by Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment (IBE), NAVA found that implementation of WELL features measurably and positively impacted residents’ physical and mental well-being across 36 statistically significant markers. Simultaneously, NAVA set out to better understand how the implementation of WELL Certification impacted its financial returns – and could potentially drive other organizations’ financial returns.

“At Lakehouse, we had the opportunity to measure both the social and financial impacts of investing in human health and well-being through real estate. We found compelling evidence of a meaningful benefit on both accounts and in ways we had not expected from our initial modeling,” said Brian Levitt, President and Co-Founder of NAVA Real Estate Development. “We are happy to share our analysis of the financial impact of WELL at Lakehouse with the development community and hope it will provide teams with a replicable model for prioritizing human and environmental health in residential projects everywhere.”

In conducting its analysis of the economic benefits derived from advancing the evidence-based health strategies in WELL, NAVA developed its own ROI tool that helps provide a fuller picture of these potential financial benefits. From an economic standpoint, a company’s investment in its people is 125x more than it is in energy for a typical building. Based on that data, NAVA’s tool shows that a projected 10% improvement in employee health would translate to an estimated $2.5 million in benefit, while a 10% reduction in energy spending would yield an estimated $20,000 benefit.

“What we learned through this process is the way that investing in strategies such as WELL Certification that are designed to optimize resident health and well-being can provide a variety of returns across a variety of both social and financial markers which will ideally elevate the perceived value of making design decisions that prioritize our built environment and its occupants, going forward,” added Levitt.

Download the full Lakehouse case study here.

About the International WELL Building Institute 
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation and the world’s leading organization focused on deploying people-first places to advance a global culture of health. IWBI mobilizes its community through the administration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and WELL ratings and certifications, management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources and advocacy for policies that promote health and well-being everywhere. More information on WELL can be found here.

International WELL Building Institute pbc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delos Living LLC. International WELL Building Institute, IWBI, the WELL Building Standard, WELL v2, WELL Certified, WELL AP, WELL Portfolio, WELL Score, The WELL Conference, We Are WELL, the WELL Community Standard, WELL Health-Safety Rating, WELL Health-Safety Rated, WELL Equity, WELL Performance Rated, WELL Performance Rating, Works with WELL, 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.

About NAVA 
NAVA Real Estate Development ("NAVA") is a real estate investment and development company founded in 2013. NAVA strives to develop architecturally significant buildings in prime locations that blend quality, function and design. The name NAVA comes from a Hebrew word meaning "beautiful," and NAVA is committed to building communities that positively impact people's lives and prioritize wellness. The firm is built on the belief that functional and healthy spaces yield meaningful economic and social benefits. NAVA is proud to work with the best teams, resources, and technology to help ensure the greatest economic, social, and environmental success for our participants and communities.

In 2020, NAVA completed Lakehouse, Colorado's first WELL Gold Certified community. Lakehouse was named "Innovative Development of the Year" at the NAIOP Colorado's Annual Awards of Achievement and "Best Health & Wellness Design Solution" at the PCBC Gold Nugget Awards.

NAVA is a Certified B Corporation spearheading a global movement to redefine success by voluntarily meeting the highest standards of accountability and performance. For more about NAVA, please visit www.navareal.com.

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