By Yvette M Santiago
Some business leaders, as stewards of our global environment, are focusing on finding solutions that address the threat of climate change. Delos Living, LLC (Delos®) is one leader catalyzing positive change by building generative solutions for built environment ecosystems. Paul Scialla, founder of Delos® chose to push the sustainable design envelope beyond “green” buildings that perform with the environment in mind, to holistic and sophisticated buildings designed to promote the health and wellbeing of occupants. Delos® is leading the charge of offering healthy spaces in order to foster a resilient society. CATALYST’s Yvette Santiago recently spoke with Director of Project Management, Natasha Franck, about Delos’ mission to meld the wellbeing of humans and the built environment to create healing spaces.
A VISION ROOTED IN GLOBAL HUMAN LONGEVITY
As the pioneer of Wellness Real Estate™ and founder of the WELL Building Standard®, Delos is transforming our homes, offices, schools, and other indoor environments by placing health and wellness at the center of design and construction decisions. Operating as an innovation platform, Delos invents, develops, researches, consults, and invests in creating spaces that nurture and promote human health and wellbeing. The Delos mission is to “build a healthier world as part of addressing, not only environmental sustainability, but also, human sustainability.” The concept of Delos® was developed from what the founders recognized as a void in the “green” movement. Through the lens of Delos Living, the built environment is viewed as an asset to maximize and enhance human-potential. Delos Living’s Director of Project Management Natasha Franck explains, “We believe the greatest asset to our creativity and innovation is to move outside of the realm of feasibility — we imagine visions of the world we would like to live in, worlds not yet possible to build, and then we let this vision guide us, taking steps to construct this reality.”
As Delos® works to build their internal strength, their stance in the industry is reinforced by more than four years of research and key collaborations with Columbia Medical School doctors, the Cleveland Clinic, leading architects, scientists and wellness thought leaders. The partnerships have helped to develop their unique brand value proposition and expertise. Several influential individuals represented on the Delos advisory board include U.S. Representative Richard Gephardt, thought leader Deepak Chopra, Nicholas LaRusso, the medical director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, Leo DeCaprio, and Rick Fedrizzi CEO of US Green Building Council. According to Co-Founder Peter Scialla,
“We stand at the intersection of multiple industries—medicine, science, architecture, development, construction and policy— and we recognize that it is the synthesis of expertise across these multiple disciplines that make new realities possible.”
EXPANDING ‘GREEN’ PASTURES
In 1998, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system as a certiﬁcation program for sustainable building standards in new developments and “green” building. To date the LEED system maintains its momentum in the area of built environments seizing the interest of owners and developers in the U.S. residential and commercial real estate sectors, seeking to gain sustainable advantage by increasing their bottom line. ‘Green’ building has been adopted in over 71% of projects in the U.S. valued at over $50 million dollars. LEED is gaining popularity in the international market and presently holds 40% of projects outside of the U.S. By 2015 the U.S. ‘green’ building real estate sector, it is estimated 40-48% of new nonresidential construction will be ‘green’. Delos® seized the opportunity to partner with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and enhance the innovative groundwork the Council developed by introducing the health and well-being concept within built environments, and strategically tapping into a viable “green” building market. Today both entities have committed to partner on integrating green environments and health and wellness by working together to build external environments and nurture internal healing.
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was established to administer the WELL Building Standard®. IWBI is a public benefit corporation (B-Corp) that was created by Delos, to fulfill a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to make the standard available globally. “The GBCI will provide third party certification for the WELL Building Standard® The IWBI-GBCI collaboration reinforces the alignment between health, wellness, and sustainability.”
As part of another commitment, in 2013 Delos® partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to construct a LEED Certified and WELL Certified orphanage and children’s facility in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, entitled the William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center, as part of the [President] Clinton Global Initiative.
The project will include a health clinic, a training center to educate local women on women’s health issues, as well as housing for 25-30 orphans, and will represent a model of sustainable and resilient construction, with the attention to culture at its core. In addition, Delos® is funding the construction of 200 affordable homes in Haiti to be built over a four-year time period. Construction commenced in August 2010, with a commitment to building twenty-five homes in Haiti with the goal to double that amount each year for the next three years.
Delos® continues to study and collaborate to explore the way people live best. Maximizing individual experience in urban settings is an essential pillar to the future of healthy, vibrant and creative cities. Scialla believes that “to create a healthy metropolis, an environment must enhance the individual through healthy livability spaces, as well as effectively maximizing density to encourage creativity and cross-disciplinary collaboration.” With people moving to cities at a faster pace than any other time in history, the company sees their health and wellness work as a way to create livable and life-enhancing urban centers in which to live, work and play. Delos® focuses on improving the creation of spaces that make occupants healthy, recognizing a strong demand for healthy environments and a willingness to spend more money to be in a space that meets these standards of environmental health. They believe that by bringing the customer’s attention to the impact on their health of their environment, they can further the sustainability movement by connecting sustainability to the customer’s immediate personal concerns related to their own wellbeing. As Delos Living, LLC’s Director of Project Management Natasha Franck explains, “Partnerships with residents, as well as urban centers and neighborhoods that look to make meaningful enhancements to quality of life will help fuel a paradigm shift, for individuals and communities.”
ALTRUISTIC CAPITALISM AND THE NEW NORM
Delos has every intention of making the greatest impact by leveraging its reach to redefine how we think about the way we build, for both residential and commercial real estate. The International Well Building Institute is a Delos affiliate organization and a registered B-Corp that will apply an altruistic capitalism model by dedicating 51% of all WELL Certification proceeds towards global housing solutions. The International WELL Building Institute and Delos are developing an educational program for WELL Accredited Professionals, as a way to train and accredit industry professionals to expertly administer the WELL Building Standard effectively. The certification and accreditation is designed to work in tandem with LEED practices. Delos and the International WELL Building Institute hope to create industry awareness around the value of WELL Certification and develop an education system that furthers the development of the new health and wellness industry in real estate.
Delos is focused on making a life-centered approach to good design the new normal. The U.S. Green Building Council propelled the real estate and building industries best practices toward environmental sustainability, and Delos® is building on that foundation, leading the development of a truly holistic approach that addresses all aspects of our experience through the human-architecture interface—Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Healthy living, healthy food, healthy body and minds are not just trends that will come and go like the latest Jimmy Choos™, but are requirements deserving to one and all by those who share space on our planet Earth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yvette M Santiago
A versatile, accomplished and resourceful professional whose mission is to positively impact society, the environment and gain strategic competitive advantage through sustainable partnerships and the implementation of new business frameworks. Yvette has also provided charitable design services to several community groups in the New York City area. Catalyst provides both a platform and outlet to connect, inspire and enrich the lives of many, and strengthens my purpose and motivation to make a difference in the global community.