Credit Union Pursues WELL Certification

In Vancouver, WA, HAPO Community Credit Union designed its newest branch to achieve WELL certification from the International WELL Building Institute.

HAPO Community Credit Union opened the doors on its new Vancouver, WA full-service financial center in March 2018. At 9,830 square feet, the HAPO branch will be the first credit union branch in the world to achieve a WELL certification from the International WELL Building Institute.

WELL certification
HAPO Community Credit Union in Vancouver, WA

“We are proud to bring the healthiest credit union in the world to our Vancouver members, and we look forward to increasing health and wellness in every community we serve,” said Steve Anderson, President and CEO of HAPO Community Credit Union.

HAPO Community Credit Union is embracing new sustainability, resilience, and wellness strategies to support the health and wellness of its members and employees, beginning with the projected WELL certification of the Vancouver branch. The Vancouver branch will serve as a prototype and testing center for future HAPO Community Credit Union locations, as the organization escalates its sustainability and wellness vision throughout its portfolio of properties.

HAPO Community Credit Union recognized the value of prioritizing the health and well-being of its employees and members, so its new facility in Vancouver WA presented the opportunity to bring wellness to life by pursuing WELL Building Standard certification. This office is the 18th branch developed by HAPO Community Credit Union, and will be the first in the world to achieve WELL certification.

The WELL Building Standard is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment. A WELL certification is a tool for advancing health and well-being through buildings, and it requires that certifying projects adhere to a comprehensive research-backed series of requirements addressing air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.

HAPO engaged Seattle-based green building consultant, Paladino and Company to conduct a full review of the branch prototype project and its WELL Building Standard potential. Paladino delivered a gap analysis to guide decisions about how to best optimize the location for wellness, back-checked by the WELL certification. Paladino is working in partnership with HAPO, Momentum, ARC Architects, and Sazan Group to manage the certification process and guide design decisions toward optimum outcomes.

“Pursuing a WELL Certification signals to the market that HAPO is committed to the performance and sustainability of its business, and to the health and prosperity of the communities they serve.” Said Tom Paladino, CEO and Founder of Paladino and Company.

Wellness features that employees and the members will find at the HAPO Community Credit Union Vancouver, Washington financial center include:

  • Restrictions on VOC emissions for all building materials
  • Ergonomic and flexible furniture to accommodate healthy posture and movement
  • Additional filtration for cleaner air and water
  • Lighting to support healthy circadian rhythms, improve visibility, and reduce glare
  • Building operations to reduce toxins and maintain clean and sanitary conditions
  • Employee policies to encourage physical fitness and health education
  • Biophilic design features emphasizing the human-nature connection including: lighting fixtures simulating natural honeycomb forms; wall coverings mimicking the facetted faces of the local Columbia river gorge; and diffused daylight through wood lattice work.
  • Abundant use of wood, which has proven qualities to human comfort, including the use of a cantilever that is useful, dramatic, and creates curiosity
  • Celebration of place and spirit through integration with the community is supported by a vision wall at the branch’s main entrance
  • Integration of public art

Serving more than 150,000 members HAPO operates locations in Washington and Oregon State.