Five Takeaways About Fitwel Certification

By Erin Vicelja and Allie Goldstein, Goby

You have an existing building. You’ve recently taken steps to improve the overall environment for its occupants. You’ve made your office building community better.

Now what?

That’s where Fitwel certification comes in.

Developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration, Fitwel aims to improve and enhance the health and well-being of those in office and multifamily residential buildings.

Recently, Goby Fitwel ambassadors hosted a webinar to explain the ins and outs of this green building certification.

Here are their top five most important takeaways about Fitwel.

Fitwel focuses on existing buildings. New construction builders are encouraged to use the Fitwel certification to guide their efforts. This can help when the building is eventually completed, and it is later submitted for Fitwel certification. Think of Fitwel as being complementary to WELL certification, which focuses on new construction. These certifications differ in other ways, too.

Fitwel is community level, WELL is tenant space level. Both certifications focus on improving health and well-being, but in different ways. Fitwel focuses on the wellbeing of the local community and merges public health and evidence-based research. Alternatively, WELL concentrates on medical science and individual levels of comfort, including quality testing of tenant space. Buildings can – and, ideally should – be certified in both. Now, what about LEED?

Fitwel focuses on occupants and community members, LEED focuses on impact on surrounding environment. Making sure the overall access and quality of water within the building is a Fitwel measure, whereas the environmental impact of the system used to supply or dispose of is within LEED certification.

Fitwel applies to any existing building, no matter how old. Even though some older buildings do not have some of the well-being amenities of newer construction, such as gyms, that doesn’t mean they cannot apply for Fitwel certification. In fact, they’re encouraged to look for realistic ways they can improve and increase their Fitwel score.

Fitwel will likely bode well for the building owner. While no studies have measured the impact of Fitwel specifically, many have been done about other green building certifications. These have proved a correlation between higher rent rates, satisfaction and occupancy. It’s not a stretch to conclude that the same will soon be shown for Fitwel-certified buildings.

For the full breakdown of the Goby webinar on Fitwel, please visit their blog.

 

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About BOMA/Chicago

The voice of Chicago's office building industry since 1902.
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