Health is WELL-centric

People spend most of their time staying indoors, which is why maintaining a healthy indoor environment is a major challenge. “Unhealthy” buildings with all sorts of pollutants put people at risk of health issues such as asthma, respiratory problems and even cancer. As early as 2001, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued the “Healthy Buildings, Healthy People” (HBHP) report that outlines a vision for indoor environmental quality in the 21st century.

In the Philippines, Menarco Development Corp. is leading the way through its Menarco Tower that has the distinction of being the first building in the country to receive a WELL Gold certification.

The WELL Building Standard is “a global tool that measures and monitors the health and well-being of its occupants. It also certifies buildings according to verified and measurable financial outcomes of building tenants as a result of their respective employees’ productivity in terms of presenteeism, medical costs, task efficiency, among others.”

Just recently, Menarco Tower achieved another milestone when it unveiled its Well Gold plaque from the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) Asia. The event affirms the company’s efforts to create office spaces that are conducive to work, which translates to viable returns on businesses’ investments.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf VP Jay Ong shows support for wife Carmen.

So how does one assess the “health” of a building? The WELL scorecard lists several parameters that include optimal indoor air quality, safe and clean water for various uses, specialized lighting, availability of fitness features and components, and a comfortable indoor environment. Also included are the “availability of fresh wholesome foods” to promote better nourishment and other features that foster health for the mind.

Even a building’s acoustics can affect one’s health. In short, a healthy building is one that should enable its residents, tenants or occupants to have a healthy mind in a healthy body, so to speak.

Leading the plaque unveiling was Menarco Development founder and CEO Carmen Jimenez-Ong who, incidentally, is one of our PeopleAsia “Women of Style and Substance” awardees. Joining Carmen was Menarco chairman Menardo Jimenez Sr. and (IWBI) Asia director for business development Samantha Allen. 

“It makes good business sense to invest in the welfare of occupants in an office building. The reality is that we spend more hours in our offices on a five- or six-day work week. This should make us think: How can we make those precious hours more productive mentally and physically sound for everyone?” Carmen points out.

Menarco’s features include filtered air circulation, ambient music, natural light in fire staircases, healthy food options in the food hall and drinkable tap water. Hopefully, other developers will take a leaf from Menarco Tower and construct buildings that are also healthy and WELL-centric.

This article written by Babe Romualdez of The Philippine Star.

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