Building Entry Design: Balancing Air Quality with LEED and WELL Compliance

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The architectural layout and structural design of a building significantly impact its indoor air quality, with the entryway playing a pivotal role. Often, contaminants are inadvertently brought into buildings by individuals or via the air in high-traffic areas such as entrances. Hence, entryway design must be carefully planned to minimize pollutants’ entry and align with sustainable design standards like LEED and WELL.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is one of the most globally recognized green building certification systems. The WELL Building Standard, on the other hand, focuses primarily on the health and well-being of a building’s occupants. Both standards have specific requirements concerning building entry design that contribute to maintaining good indoor air quality. This article examines these requirements in detail.

Building Entryway Design Requirements

The goal of an effectively designed building entrance is to limit the migration of pollutants from the outside to the inside of a building. Both LEED and WELL suggest specific design features for all regularly used entrances that have pedestrian traffic to the building surroundings. Below is a comparison table detailing the respective requirements for compliance:

Entryway SystemLEED requires the implementation of permanent entryway systems (grilles, grates, slots, or rollout mats) at least 10 ft (3 m) long in the primary direction of travel to capture dirt and particulates entering the building at all high-volume entrance points.WELL requires the building to include an entryway system composed of grilles, grates, slots, or removable carpet tiles that are at least the width of the entrance and 10 ft long in the primary direction of travel (sum of indoor and outdoor length).
Vestibule or Revolving DoorsWhile LEED doesn’t explicitly require vestibules or revolving doors, it highly recommends them as a strategy for energy and heat conservation, indirectly contributing to air quality.WELL requires one of the following to slow the movement of air from outdoors to indoors: a building entry vestibule with two typically closed doorways or revolving entrance doors.
Separation from OutdoorsLEED does not explicitly require a separation from outdoors via doors. However, the design and layout need to facilitate the control of indoor air quality.For buildings with an entrance outside of the project boundary or an entrance lobby not regularly occupied, WELL requires at least three typically shut doors separating the outdoors from all regularly occupied spaces within the project boundary.

Implementing the entryway design standards as required by both LEED and WELL is crucial for ensuring good indoor air quality. This not only helps to enhance the health and well-being of building occupants but also contributes to energy efficiency by minimizing unnecessary heat gain or loss.

To conclude, thoughtful entryway design is an effective strategy to control and improve indoor air quality, with the added benefit of meeting LEED and WELL standards. With rising awareness about health and sustainability, these standards provide an essential roadmap for designing and managing healthy, green buildings.

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