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Integration Guide to Health & Wellness: Of Air, Water, and Light

Wellness solutions claim their rightful place for home projects.

Health and Wellness
This room has a Delos DARWIN system installed so, although you can’t see or taste it, you can rest assured the air and water are of the highest quality.

Wellness can deliver more than individual health; it promises a wealth of opportunities for integrators to enhance the bottom line. The health and wellness segment has already garnered lots of attention. Bolstered by research and consumer awareness, companies such as Delos and Pure Wellness are on a mission to bring it all home.

“A small number of AV integrators have been interested for years, but this segment really gained traction this past year at CEDIA,” says Vinny Lobdell, CEO, Pure Wellness. “The greater awareness started there as integrators realized that this is not a trend but is likely to stay. The Global Wellness Institute, with which we are aligned, recently stated that in the middle to upper ends of the real estate and development markets, the wellness lifestyle produced home sale premiums from 15 to 55 percent over comparables.”

Not only is there a major need in the market for wellness solutions, but builders and developers already are adopting them as a way to boost revenues and home values. “For those integrators who want to grow and expand, this is an optimal time for wellness solutions to be included in installed AV systems,” he adds. “We can’t go a week without a report of unhealthy air or water. The biggest challenge is that indoor air quality is up to 100 times worse than outside air quality. Some of this is a backlash problem caused by building ultra-energy-efficient homes about 12 to 15 years ago with a focus on heating and ventilation, not health.”

Anthony Antolino, Delos
Anthony Antolino, chief commercial officer, Delos

Integrators play an important role in identifying the needs of the customer and finding solutions to best meet their needs; however, human health in itself is dependent on many factors, notes Anthony Antolino, chief commercial officer, Delos. “We can eat healthy and exercise regularly, but if the water we drink is contaminated or if we aren’t getting enough sleep, our health may still be compromised,” he says. “It is critical that we think about health holistically in order to optimize our home environments. Delos’ approach is grounded in science and supports the idea that our health is dependent on a range of factors that should be taken into consideration holistically to truly optimize health outcomes.”

Technology integrators have always centered their work on customer experience, sourcing solutions that can offer a better daily life and creating environments that are optimized for client comfort and accessibility, he adds. “From security measures to energy savers, these technologies support a convenient and improved lifestyle.”

Delos was born out of a vision to push the notion of sustainability in real estate beyond to focus on the human condition. “This began seven years of research on how our buildings can impact human health and well-being,” Antolino explains, “and ultimately the creation of the WELL Building Standard (WELL), which is delivered by Delos’ subsidiary, the International WELL Building Institute.”

Delos then began offering a solution specifically for the hospitality sector through its Stay Well program, which includes features such as aromatherapy, memory foam mattresses, circadian lighting, and standalone air purification. Most recently, Delos launched DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence for the residential sector.

Do The Research
Although wellness itself is an umbrella term, a big-picture topic, leading Harvard University research shows that homeowners are most interested in indoor air quality solutions by a wide margin, with water quality coming in second. “The study indicates that 85 percent of homeowners are more knowledgeable about air and water quality than even two years ago, and 80 percent will spend more for a healthier home,” says Lobdell. “This is why we have initially chosen to focus on air and water quality for the residential market, which migrated from our award-winning and patented Pure Room Program, now available in over 7000 hotel rooms worldwide through partner brands such as the Ritz Carlton, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and many others.”

Through its extensive scientific research, Delos recognized that it could enhance occupant health and well-being through features of the indoor environment and pioneered the concept of wellness real estate. “This growing trend has brought integrators, designers, builders, and health professionals together to engage in a groundbreaking and innovative dialog,” Antolino explains. “This movement offers integrators an opportunity to play a critical role in enhancing the health and well-being of their clients, providing evidence-based solutions that can have beneficial societal outcomes. We’ve begun training sessions with HTSA member organizations and approving them as dealers for DARWIN Premier. The program is designed to prepare integrators to deliver a solution that addresses the complexities and issues that indoor environments can have on human health.”

Delos’ DARWIN is a first of its kind in-home wellness solution that monitors and calibrates indoor environmental conditions to support health and well-being, he says. “Features include air purification, water filtration, circadian lighting, and enhanced sleep features. We work with leading manufacturers to guide the development of best-in-class products, which then undergo scientific vetting by the Delos Labs team before being included in the DARWIN network.”

Related: Riding the Wellness Wave

A Look Ahead
2020 will be a big year for Pure Wellness, Lobdell predicts, as the company has recently partnered with Azione Unlimited as their exclusive healthy home wellness provider. “We will participate in CEDIA Expos, and are partnering with other great companies including LeakSmart for shutoff valves and Bluewater purification technologies,” he says. “We are also working to finalize collaborations with various AV control companies. We waited to launch until we were ready to go. AV integrators are tech savvy and we wanted to ensure that our programs were very refined before the launch.”

In addition to its reach through Azione, the company employs regional sales experts. “We’re aiming at AV integrators, and we’re building a platform to increase knowledge and skills,” he notes. “We think integrators are the perfect fit to bring our solutions to consumers. Whether it’s a single-family home or a multifamily development, Pure has a suite of options that can provide near-perfect air from every vent or localized near-perfect air in a bedroom, all controlled from the palm of your hand. Centralized point-of-entry or point-of-use water treatment systems will provide for better than bottled water at the chosen source. The Intellipure Super V whole-house integrated solution can be installed at the furnace or AC site and has been rated the most efficient whole-house system in the marketplace, capturing the most dangerous lung penetrating particles known to cause disease.”

The Pure Wellness Intellipure Super V whole-house integrated solution can be installed at the furnace or AC site and has been rated the most efficient whole-house system in the marketplace.

The Color of Light
Integrators, of late, have been focused on lighting as part of expanded value propositions and some have become lighting dealers themselves. “Lighting presents a very synergistic opportunity,” says Antolino, “and AV integrators have become astute in relating to how it enhances the home environment and has a powerful effect on health and performance.”

Part of the Delos integrator training features information on how home lighting can actually help enhance cognitive performance. “Circadian lighting, which has come on the market over the last five years, represents an important breakthrough as it relates to its effects on humans,” he explains. “It has the ability to align us with our natural circadian rhythms, the biological clocks regulating our sleep/wake cycles. The DARWIN Circadian Lighting System can simulate natural sunlight indoors, helping our bodies maintain their circadian rhythms, which can improve energy, mood, and productivity.”

Bringing circadian lighting into the home can have a positive effect on sleep/wake cycles and on quality of sleep, helping us to wake up in a natural way. “It’s been documented that devices can be detrimental to natural sleep patterns and, as an example, I use Apple’s Night Shift feature, turning blue light to amber so my body won’t be tricked into thinking it’s still midday,” says Antolino.

Circadian lighting technology is incorporated at all Delos price points — from mass market to luxury homes. “We believe in wellness for all; that good health outcomes are a right. Our solutions can be sold into the entry-level mass market as well as in the mid-market, luxury, and ultra-luxury markets,” he notes.

Awareness of air quality by consumers has spawned interest in home wellness products like those from Intellipure.

For DARWIN Premier, Delos’ most exclusive offering tailored to discerning clientele, the Delos Wellness Design team works through all stages of the design and construction process alongside AV integrators to seamlessly prescribe wellness solutions throughout the home. “Our comprehensive approach includes analyzing drawing sets, air system layouts and geolocation, testing localized water quality, and creating Equivalent Melanopic Lux (EML) light models to make recommendations for the Enhanced Sleep system,” Antolino says. “The team then delivers product recommendations, overlays, and cut sheets, and works with the client’s design team to integrate solutions across the home.”

Despite growing awareness, oftentimes consumers are not aware of the impact that their home environment has on their health and well-being. “DARWIN’s central dashboard allows integrators to provide homeowners with key metrics to track wellness conditions across the home, along with real-time data on outdoor air pollution, and enables homeowners to customize their preferences,” Antolino notes. “The dashboard provides tangible data to customers on how their home is performing, and the potential impact on their health and well-being. Integrators can show potential customers, in real time, changes in air quality and how DARWIN immediately remediates concerns.”

And with the advent of IoT, a low-cost sensor can be placed in a home to educate the consumer on how good or bad the health of their home may be. “Through this process we are actually educating and empowering them to take useful steps to improve the health and wellness of their built environments,” Lobdell concludes. “We’re passionate about empowering them and providing a clear road map for a solution.”