How can you know what homes and real estate projects can be counted as wellness real estate or healthy homes? Without some standard or principles this is hard.

To know the criteria can be interesting for investors, developers, and buyers.

The home buyer can decide if something that is called wellness or healthy on the market really earns the name wellness real estate. And the investor or developer can orient or let himself be inspired by the principles and doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

There are a lot of principles and guidelines on the market which can get confusing. Each standard can go quite deep in its requirements, such as the one I wrote about in this article.

Therefore, I prepared a list of the 15 major ones for you to see what they entail at a glance.

They cover different requirements for wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community, and financial/economical.

Some cover all and some only a few of these aspects.

The 15 Major Design Guidelines for Healthy Homes and Wellness Real Estate

Active Design Guidelines

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, social, and community
  • What it is: Urban design principles for creating outdoor spaces, neighborhoods and streets that encourage walking, bicycling, active transportation and recreation. Synergy between active design and universal and sustainable design initiatives such as LEED and PlaNYC is considered. Promotes active living where we work, live, and play through the positioning and design of elevators, stairs, indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Further information is at centerforactivedesign.org

Biophilic Design Principles

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community
  • What it is: the use of aspects of nature in the built environment to reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, expedite healing, and improve wellbeing
  • Further information is at terrapinbrightgreen.com

CASBEE Urban and City Tools (Japan)

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: assessment tools applicable to areas such as construction, town development, and city management.
  • Further information is at ibec.or.jp

Fitwel Standard

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and community
  • What it is: a certification system that optimizes buildings to support health using expertise from different professions in the fields of public health, design, development, statistics, and research.
  • Further information is at fitwel.org

Healthy Active by Design / Healthy Spaces & Places (Australia)

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: focuses on the creation of healthier built environments such as streets, towns, and cities that allow, support, and encourage active healthy lives. Strong focus on the health of the heart.
  • Further information is at healthyactivebydesign.com.au

LEED, BREEAM, & Similar

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: environmental
  • What they are: LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a well known international green building rating system that provides a framework to create healthy highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. BREEAM is a leading international sustainability assessment method for masterplanning infrastructure, projects, and buildings. Its focus is on creating higher performing assets across the lifecycle of built environments.
  • Further information is at new.usgbc.org and breeam.com.

Living Building and Living Community Standard

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What they are: emerged during an effort to produce the EpiCenter in Bozeman, Montana, that aimed to be the most advanced sustainable design project in the world. If you want to get Living Building certified, there’re only two rules: that with some exceptions depending on market limitations all imperatives defined are mandatory. Before you get evaluated, the project must have worked for at least twelve months, as the certification is based on actual and not modeled or anticipated performance.
  • Further information is at living-future.org and in this article

Universal/Inclusive/ Transgenerational Design

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical
  • What it is: The design and composition of an environment has to be in a way that it can be understood, accessed, and used to the greatest possible extent by all people regardless of their size, age, ability, or disability.
  • Further information is at: universaldesign.ie, en.wikipedia.org, inclusivedesigntoolkit.com.

ULI Building Healthy Places Toolkit

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: a toolkit that shows opportunities to increase health through changes in approaches to projects and buildings. It features 21 evidence-based recommendations supported by action-oriented best practice strategies.
  • Further information is at bhptoolkit.uli.org.

WELL Building and Community Standard

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community
  • What it is: a public benefit corporation aiming to improve human health and wellbeing in communities and buildings across the world through its WELL Building Standard.
  • Further information is at wellcertified.com

Blue Zone Principles

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: health principles based on regions of the world where people live the longest. People inhabiting the blue zones share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity.
  • Further information is at en.wikipedia.org

Enterprise Green Communities

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: development and application of criteria to bring improved economic, health, and environmental benefits of sustainable building practices to low-income families.
  • Further information is at cdc.gov

Green Star Communities (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa)

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: features a rigorous and holistic rating system across five impact categories (governance, livability, economic prosperity, environment, innovation) for large scale development projects, neighbourhood and/or community scale.
  • Further information is at new.gbca.org.au

LEED for Cities/LEED-ND

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: This certification program can measure and manage a city’s water consumption, energy use, waste, transportation, and human experience.
  • Further information is at new.usgbc.org

One Planet Living Principles

  • Targeted aspects and areas of wellness real estate: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, community, economical/financial
  • What it is: a framework based on the experience with BedZED eco-village consisting of ten intuitive principles backed by science to help anyone anywhere make truly sustainable living a reality.
  • Further information is at bioregional.com

I hope the list inspired you if you plan to invest in your own development or if you are on the lookout for a healthy house or housing project for your use.

Please let me know if you know of other standards not mentioned on this list, so that I can keep the list up to date.