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December 25

Fitwel Certification- A Complete Guide

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Fitwel is a certification system that evaluates and rates buildings’ health and wellness features. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA), Fitwel is designed to help building owners and operators improve the health and well-being of occupants through design, construction, and operational strategies.

Fitwel certification is based on a set of evidence-based design and operational strategies that have been shown to improve the health and well-being of building occupants. These strategies are organized into seven categories:

The seven FITWEL health impact categories are as follows:

The seven FITWEL health impact categories are designed to help measure and improve the health and wellness of building occupants and the surrounding community.

  • Impacts Surrounding Community Health: This category measures how a building’s design and operations positively impact the surrounding community’s health. This can include the availability of public transportation and walkability, as well as access to healthy foods and public spaces for physical activity.
  • Reduces Morbidity and Absenteeism: This category measures how a building’s design and operations reduce illness and absenteeism among building occupants. This can include things like the provision of clean indoor air, access to natural light, and the availability of hand-washing facilities.
  • Supports Social Equity for Vulnerable Populations: This category measures the extent to which a building’s design and operations support the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities or low-income individuals. This can include things like the provision of accessible features, like ramps and elevators, and the availability of affordable healthy food options.
  • Instills Feelings of Well-Being: This category measures the extent to which a building’s design and operations promote well-being and comfort among building occupants. This can include the availability of natural light, access to nature, and the provision of quiet spaces for relaxation.
  • Enhances Access to Healthy Foods: This category measures how a building’s design and operations improve access to healthy food options for building occupants. This can include the availability of on-site food vendors offering healthy choices and providing kitchen facilities for employees to bring in their healthy meals.
  • Promotes Occupant Safety: This category measures the extent to which a building’s design and operations promote the safety of building occupants. This can include the provision of emergency lighting and fire suppression systems and the availability of safe and well-lit pedestrian routes.
  • Increases Physical Activity: This category measures the extent to which a building’s design and operations increase physical activity among building occupants. This can include the availability of on-site fitness facilities and bike storage, and showers for employees who cycle to work.

To obtain Fitwel certification, a building must meet a certain number of credits in each category. The number of credits required depends on the size and type of the building.

In addition to the seven core categories, Fitwel has several optional categories that buildings can pursue. These optional categories cover other health and wellness strategies that may be of particular interest or relevance to a specific building.

Which buildings can achieve Fitwel certification?

Fitwel offers certification for a range of building types, including:

  1. Office buildings: Fitwel certification is available for office buildings of all sizes, including single-tenant and multi-tenant buildings.
  2. Residential buildings: Fitwel certification is available for multi-family residential buildings, including apartments, condominiums, and dormitories.
  3. Schools: Fitwel certification is available for educational facilities at all levels, including primary schools, secondary schools, and universities.
  4. Healthcare facilities: Fitwel certification is available for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.
  5. Retail and hospitality buildings: Fitwel certification is available for retail and hospitality buildings, including hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers.
  6. Community centers: Fitwel certification is available for community centers, including libraries, recreation centers, and museums.
  7. Industrial buildings: Fitwel certification, including warehouses and manufacturing facilities, is available for industrial buildings.
  8. Mixed-use buildings: Fitwel certification is available for mixed-use buildings, which combine multiple uses, such as residential, office, and retail.

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What are the benefits of achieving Fitwel Certification?

Achieving Fitwel certification can provide several benefits for building owners and operators. These benefits include:

  • Improved occupant health and well-being: By meeting the standards, a building is more likely to promote the health and well-being of its occupants. This can lead to increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and other positive outcomes.
  • Increased tenant satisfaction: Tenants are increasingly looking for healthy, sustainable buildings to live and work in. Obtaining Fitwel certification can make a building more attractive to potential tenants.
  • Enhanced reputation: Fitwel certification is a widely recognized and respected credential in the building industry. This certification can enhance a building’s reputation and differentiate it from competitors.
  • Potential cost savings: Implementing the strategies required for certification can lead to cost savings in areas such as energy consumption, water use, and maintenance.
  • Improved compliance with regulations and standards: Fitwel certification can help buildings meet local, state, and federal regulations and standards related to occupant health and well-being.

Overall, achieving certification can provide numerous benefits that can improve the performance and value of a building. It’s essential to carefully consider the potential benefits of accreditation and weigh them against the costs and resources required to achieve it.

Some Fitwel successful stories

Here are a few examples of notable Fitwel-certified projects:

  • The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: This building, developed by PNC Financial Services, is a LEED Platinum-certified office tower that achieved Fitwel 3-Star certification. The building features various health and wellness features, including a fitness center, a rooftop garden, and a healthy food program.
  • First Federal Plaza in Chicago, Illinois: This building, developed by First Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, achieved Fitwel 3-Star certification. The building features various health and wellness features, including a fitness center, a healthy food program, and a green roof.
  • The Edge in Amsterdam, Netherlands: This building, developed by OVG Real Estate, is a LEED Platinum-certified office building that achieved Fitwel 3-Star certification. The building features various health and wellness features, including a fitness center, a healthy food program, and a green roof.

These are just a few examples of Fitwel-certified projects that have achieved notable success. Many other Fitwel-certified buildings worldwide have also achieved success in different ways.

How hard is it to achieve Fitwel certification?

The difficulty of achieving Fitwel certification will depend on several factors, including the size and type of your building, the existing sustainability features of your building, and your resources and commitment to meeting the Fitwel standards.

In general, achieving certification requires a significant investment of time and resources. To obtain certification, a building must meet a certain number of credits in each of the seven categories of the Fitwel standard: nutritious food options, physical activity opportunities, clean indoor air, quality lighting, thermal comfort, acoustic comfort, and safe and secure environments. The number of credits required depends on the size and type of the building.

To prepare for certification, you will need to assess your building to identify any areas that need improvement. You will then need to develop and implement a plan to address these areas, which may involve making physical changes to the building or implementing new operational policies and procedures. You will also need to document your efforts and provide evidence of compliance with the Fitwel standards.

Overall, achieving certification requires significant time, resources, and effort. However, the benefits of certification, such as improved occupant health and well-being, increased tenant satisfaction, and enhanced reputation can make it a worthwhile investment.

Want to Certify Fitwel?

Develop Fitwel Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

How long it takes to certify Fitwel?

The length of time it takes to certify a building as Fitwel will depend on several factors, including the size and complexity of the building, the extent of improvements needed to meet the standards, and the resources and commitment available to achieve certification.

In general, the Fitwel certification process involves several steps, including an initial assessment of the building’s compliance with the standards, the development and implementation of a plan to address any deficiencies, and a verification assessment to confirm that the facility meets the standards.

The time required to complete each of these steps can vary widely depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the building. For example, the initial assessment may take several days to a week or more to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the building. Implementing the improvement plan may take several weeks to months, depending on the scope and available resources.

Overall, the time it takes to certify a building as Fitwel can range from a few months to a year. It’s essential to carefully consider the potential benefits of certification and weigh them against the time and resources required to achieve it. Working with a consultant or service provider such as ugreen.io can help you better understand the timeline and resources needed to achieve Fitwel certification and plan accordingly.

How long is Fitwel certification valid?

Fitwel certifications are valid for three years from the date of certification. After three years, buildings must be re-certified to maintain their certification. To be re-certified, buildings must demonstrate that they continue to meet the standards for promoting health and well-being.

Regardless of age, can any relevant building be certified? What difficulties do older or historic properties face?

Older buildings frequently lack standard modern amenities like on-site fitness centers and appropriate stairwells and were not generally constructed with the health and welfare of tenants in mind. These are also frequently places where it is impractical to alter the design significantly enough to satisfy all Fitwel requirements.

This is not to say that older structures shouldn’t apply for certification. The design and construction of a building is a common theme among the techniques and categories. Age is not a qualification, even though an older building could present more of a challenge. There are several opportunities to earn points because historic structures are frequently found in central, contemporary, and populated metropolitan locations.

The Fitwel Viral Response Module: What is it?

The Fitwel Viral Response Module is a separate certification that enables businesses to implement new guidelines, policies, and practices for a comprehensive strategy to reduce disease transmission on an entity-level or asset-level basis. In direct reaction to the need surrounding COVID-19, this module was created.

The module focuses on data-driven tactics that reduce the viral spread and foster a healthy environment for all inhabitants. With the help of leading figures in the commercial real estate sector and health professionals, Fitwel created and produced this module. The only certification that may be applied corporate-wide is this one.

How can I start my Fitwel certification with UGREEN?

To start your Fitwel certification with UGREEN, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Contact UGREEN: The first step is to get in touch with UGREEN to discuss your interest in the Fitwel certification. You can do this by scheduling an appointment here.
  2. Schedule an assessment: Once you have contacted UGREEN, they will assess your building to determine its current compliance with the Fitwel standards. This assessment will involve reviewing your building’s design and operational features and an on-site visit to collect data and assess the building’s performance.
  3. Develop a plan: Based on the assessment results, UGREEN will work with you to develop a plan to improve your building’s compliance with the standards. This plan will outline the specific actions that need to be taken to meet the requirements, including any physical changes to the building or operational policies and procedures that need to be implemented.
  4. Implement the plan: With the help of UGREEN, you will need to implement the plan to improve your building’s compliance with the standards. This will involve making necessary physical changes to the building and implementing new policies and procedures as outlined in the plan.
  5. Verification and certification: Once you have implemented the necessary improvements, UGREEN will conduct a verification assessment to confirm that your building meets the standards. If the facility meets the criteria, ugreen.io will submit the documentation to the program for review and certification.

Working with UGREEN allows you to receive expert guidance and support throughout the Fitwel certification process.

Need to certify a building in Portuguese? Talk to our Portuguese headquarters by clicking here.

Want to Certify Fitwel?

Develop Fitwel Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.


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