Wellness advocate Michael Don Ham of RePure recently opened a session on setting up a wellness brand as an integrator with a very relevant point.
“If we’re looking at the concepts set out by the WELL Building standard, custom integrators are already handling seven of those in their work,” he said to the room. But instead of disbelief, everyone there came to a sudden realization: of course. I and many of the other people simply hadn’t thought of it that way before.
To clarify, the ten concepts set out by the WELL Building Standard that contribute to occupant health and wellbeing are:
AirWaterNourishmentLightMovementCommunityMaterialsMindAcoustics, andThermal Comfort
If you want to take a shot at the seven CI professionals are already engaged in, feel free to pause before moving on. We’ll still be here when you get back.
The point is that integrators are already well-versed in the verticals that contribute to occupant health and wellness. So, for those who are now just getting interested in expanding more into the wellness category, it’s all just a manner of re-examining the work that’s been already done when you’re trying to build out your messaging for clients.
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And that’s important, because today ‘making my home healthier/safer’ is one of the top two priorities for homeowners when they are spending money on their homes, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. According to homebuilders and remodelers, 83% of their clients were found to be more willing to pay for additional upgrades to their home if it meant that it would ensure the health and safety of them and their families.
Even if you haven’t tackled every project in this article, chances are we’ve hit at least some stuff you’ve already worked on.
Lighting systems and installs have become an incredibly popular category for custom integrators over the years, and it just so happens that light is essential for human health. When exposed to natural daylight—and systems designed to simulate natural daylight—people have better mental and emotional wellbeing, are more productive throughout the day and sleep better at night.
When an integrator installs motorized shading or dynamic lighting, they are actively playing into a positive health impact through light! Even the base level of having a well-lit home is enough to contribute to the visual comfort of homeowners while adding in the ability to brighten, dim or alter the color temperature of the lights is another level of convenience and control.
Noise is the second biggest environmental factor causing health issues (surpassed only by air pollution) according to the WHO, but homeowners also say noise is a huge factor when it comes to how much they can enjoy their home. Sound within an enclosed space from HVACs, appliances and other equipment can hinder productivity, focus, memory retention and mental faculties.
If you’ve ever installed an audio system: you’ve added to the acoustical comfort of a space. Aside from being able to cover up the more disruptive noises from inside and outside the house, music can greatly contribute to mental and emotional wellbeing while also being a potent productivity tool and exercise igniter. Even sourcing quieter electronics helps!
Voice control also adds another layer to acoustics by transforming sound into a pathway of convenience and accessibility within a home.
If you’ve ever worked on environmental controls or power management solutions, then you’ve had a hand in ensuring the thermal comfort of home occupants, and that’s huge. Our bodies need a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to properly regulate core body temperatures, which is why we start to feel less comfortable at higher temperatures.
Our bodies also use different temperatures as signals for different bodily functions, like sleep. Because we used to live outside for so long, our bodies are still accustomed to the cool night air for when we sleep, which is why temperatures between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for when we’re going to bed.
When you install a golf/sports simulator or get to work on an outdoor space, you are putting together a solution that helps facilitate motion and activity in homeowners. It might not be heart thumping cardio that may come with a workout center (more power to you if you’ve ever worked on one of those for a project) but even the simple of standing and walking around for thirty minutes after hours of sitting can help stimulate metabolism and lower the risk of blood clots in the legs.
Having a functional outdoor space like a kitchen or entertainment area also helps to connect homeowners with nature and opens the door to outdoor activities (not to mention something like an outdoor kitchen helps with venting a lot of the harmful fumes set off by cooking). Plus, physical activity helps release serotonin, the happy hormone, which, you can imagine how beneficial that is to mental health.
Everything an integrator does can be tied back to here. By changing the light, temperature and air to reflect more natural conditions, CI professionals are engaging in what’s known as biophilic design, which is all about simulating natural conditions, visuals and textures to improve occupant wellbeing. Connecting residents to the outdoors directly? Well, that’s the best you can get. Natural environments and sounds have the power to relax the mind, rejuvenate the body and correct many of the disruptions that often get caused by living in artificial environments.
Integrators help deliver a peace of mind as well. When installing security and notification systems, the goal is always to protect and safeguard home occupants and their belongings in the event of a break-in and for many, that assurance is tremendous knowing that their home is a sanctuary for them and their loved ones.
We also can’t forget about the AV classic that is a home theater, where homeowners are able to escape and immerse themselves in whatever media they’re interested in, away from all the stresses of the day.
One of the newer categories that integrators are starting to venture into—even newer than lighting—is air quality, and its role in human health is hard to understate. UN Medical Scientists have found that an astonishing 99% of the world’s population breathes polluted air that exceeds internationally approved limits, and when we’re inhaling 26 pounds of air each day, that’s a big deal for everyone.
By connecting devices that help monitor and control air quality—like ventilation and filtration systems—you’re creating a unified home solution that proactively ensures occupant safety, health and wellbeing. Don’t be quiet about this one either. As it turns out, many homeowners aren’t even aware of this being possible, but once they find out, interest is all but guaranteed.
By comparison, our consumption of water is much lower, but that doesn’t make its value for healthy living any less important. Aside from all the plastics and chemicals that have been detected in water supplies throughout the United States, distrust in the water is also a huge issue, as people who distrust their water supply are more likely to be dehydrated and drink sugary beverages instead.
Integrators may already be acquainted with flow regulators, shut off valves and flow rate monitors, but more recently, integrators have begun to install water softening, filtration and purification solutions. If you’ve worked on the latter, you’re well on way down the path of wellness, but even if you’ve only worked on the former, don’t downplay it. Water damage in a home can be one of the most insidious health and financial issues when it happens, so you’re playing a big part in security and wellness.
This post premiered on our sister site, DesignWell.