Well Living Lab

Indoor environments and everything in them can affect human health and well-being. The Well Living Lab is the first research center to exclusively use human-centered research to understand the interaction between health and indoor environments.

Collaborators Delos and Mayo Clinic bring together building science and health science to generate evidence-based information that can be used in practical ways to create healthier places for people to live, work and play.

The Well Living Lab opened in 2016 adjacent to Mayo Clinic's campus in downtown Rochester, Minnesota, with 5,500 square feet of reconfigurable space that can simulate apartments and offices.

The lab conducts research with human participants and soon will also conduct field studies all over the world — its research can be carried out anywhere with an internet connection. People who participate in studies experience different environmental factors while going about their normal day-to-day activities. Data is gathered through unobtrusive sensors, wearables, apps and surveys.

Five research themes provide focus for the Well Living Lab's areas of study:

  • Health
  • Performance
  • Stress and resiliency
  • Sleep
  • Comfort

A critical component of the Well Living Lab's research is the interplay of elements such as sound, lighting, temperature and air quality. The lab's advanced technology includes a secure, cloud-based, scalable system for acquiring sensor-based information and managing the building environment. This technology also provides research-grade data analysis and visualization to discover correlations between environmental factors and research themes.

A scientific advisory council comprising national and international experts in a variety of disciplines supports the Well Living Lab's work. The lab applies the Mayo Clinic framework of discovery, translation and application to its investigations and submits its research protocols to Mayo Clinic's Institutional Review Board.

This innovative collaboration arose from an obvious but largely unstudied statistic: In the 21st century, most people in the U.S. spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Delos and Mayo Clinic recognize that it's therefore more critical than ever to understand how indoor environments affect health, making this new area of study increasingly significant. Read more about the background of the Well Living Lab.

Researchers in the Well Living Lab envision a future in which doctors prescribe changes to peoples' homes, or interact with their patients' living spaces, to treat sleep disorders, airborne disease or even heart failure. Investigators imagine a future in which architects, builders and real estate developers create spaces that respond to people's physiological and psychological needs, and products, materials and technologies help people stay healthy and enhance their well-being.

Publications

Read published journal articles about the Well Living Lab:

Well Living Lab Alliance

The lab offers membership in the Well Living Lab Alliance, a program to bring together organizations interested in transforming health and well-being in indoor environments. More than 20 organizations from around the world are already members.

Contact

Brent A. Bauer, M.D.

Barbara R. Spurrier