Fitwel

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and General Services Administration (GSA) have recently developed a new certification for healthy buildings. This new rating system, Fitwel, introduces a user-friendly, intuitive, and affordable approach to not only achieve healthy building certification, but also to create an environment in which employees are happier, healthier, and more productive.

Why Fitwel?

With strategies that increase employee productivity, achieving Fitwel certification can translate into profit gains for the building owner/tenant. While improving occupant health and productivity can often be nebulous, Fitwel helps to guide owners and tenants in the right direction. The rating system is based upon several years of CDC and GSA research, including the review of over 3,000 scientific studies which largely conclude that employee health and lifestyle risk factors are associated with workplace productivity loss.

Will Fitwel work for my project?

Fitwel is designed to be used for a variety of space types including existing buildings, new buildings, and tenant spaces. Unlike most green building rating systems, there are no pre-requisites or mandatory requirements that could be cost-prohibitive or unsuitable for a specific building type. Additionally, certification costs and documentation requirements are considerably less than those of comparable rating systems, making Fitwel a great first step for building owners interested in building or improving their space to increase occupant health and productivity.

How does it work?

Fitwel is administered by the Center for Active Design (CfAD), and is made up of sixty-three evidence-based design and policy strategies, each of which supports at least one of seven health impact categories. These strategies include incentives for the availability of a fitness center, lactation room, water filling station, quiet room, access to a walking trail, and healthy food options, among several others. Facilities that achieve a Fitwel score of ninety or above are considered Fitwel certified at one of three levels, based upon the number of points achieved.
Fitwel Categories

Seven Health Impact Categories

Fitwel Categories

As we continue to push the boundaries and pursue this certification, we hope that much like the Living Building Challenge, the Fitwel Standard can inspire long-term change in the way the built environment affects us.

Newcomb & Boyd would like to partner with you to inspire this change. Contact us HERE

*Images from fitwel.org

Danna Richey, PE, GPCP, Fitwel Ambassador

Danna Richey, PE, GPCP, Fitwel Ambassador

Associate, Sustainability and Energy Modeling Engineer
With more than 9 years of experience consulting on sustainable and energy efficient buildings, Ms. Richey is knowledgeable in energy modeling, measurement and verification strategies, integrated design, and commissioning. In addition to her experience with health care, mixed-use, and office buildings, she is proficient in the requirements for LEED certification and ASHRAE Standards. Ms. Richey is a PE, LEED AP, Fitwel Ambassador, GPCP, and an expert in helping projects reach their sustainability goal. Email Danna
Danna Richey, PE, GPCP, Fitwel Ambassador
Danna Richey, PE, GPCP, Fitwel Ambassador

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Comments ( 6 )

        • Nevin Sood says:

          What is the cost of a Fitwel assessment in a commercial office space in the US? How long is the process? Is it a single stage assessment or is there a pre-certification or operational stage analysis required? If so, what would that cost?
          Thanks.

        • Newcomb & Boyd says:

          Hi Nevin. Thank you for your questions.

          The cost of a Fitwel assessment for a commercial office space in the US is $6,500. That is, $500 to register the project, and $6,000 for the project review. These fees apply to all buildings pursuing Fitwel certification, regardless of building function, location or size. One of the objectives of the Fitwel rating system is to provide a lower-cost and lower-hassle approach to healthy building certification. For instance, a 60,000 SF office space can be certified under the Fitwel rating system for $6,500. To certify the same building under the WELL rating system would cost over five times that amount, at $36,100 (and this cost increases based the gross square footage of the building).

          The Fitwel review process takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks. It is a single stage assessment during which the review team will communicate with the project team via the Fitwel reviewer port. This allows the reviewers to ask questions during the review process, and provides the project team with an opportunity to provide additional information and clarity.

          Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions.

          Danna Richey

        • Michael Clark AIA says:

          How does one become WELL certified?

        • Newcomb & Boyd says:

          Hi Michael,

          Thank you for your interest in the WELL certification. The process begins with registering the project and having a WELL AP on the design team to guide you. Here is a quick snapshot of the process:

          Well Certification

          We would be happy to assist you with any questions related to WELL certification if you have a project that is considering WELL certification.

        • Malissa Enea says:

          Is there an approximate ‘cost per square foot’ number? Before we can require Fitwel certification single star as a requirement for tenant improvement projects, it all comes down to cost. I understand each project is different as each building is different, but is there a range, outside of the initial certification fees? Even if it’s an estimate based on the projects that have already been completed, that would help.

        • Newcomb & Boyd says:

          Hi Malissa,

          Fitwel is designed to promote healthy design and operation strategies in a cost-effective way. Outside of the registration and review cost ($6,500 for any project type/size), capital costs associated with implementation of strategies to achieve a one star rating are minimal.

          For commercial interiors projects, many strategies can be achieved with no capital cost by locating the tenant space within a base building with amenities that align with Fitwel goals and strategies. Beyond that, most projects can achieve a one-star rating by following standard practice, making minor design adjustments, or implementing healthy and sustainable policies. Capital costs incurred are generally minimal, and depending on the strategies that the project team has elected to pursue, could include incorporation of policy related signage, shades/blinds, water bottle fill stations, walk off mats, or bike racks (if not already part of the base building).

          For examples of projects that achieved 1-star certification with minimal cost, we recommend reviewing the Fitwel case studies (https://fitwel.org/product/fitwel-case-studies). In case-studies in which the project achieved 1-star certification, costs were negligible or minimal. Let us know if we can help you to identify implementation costs associated with achievement of Fitwel certification for any of your projects.

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