Unlike other green building certifications, the FitWel Certification program focuses on occupant health and wellbeing rather than energy and environmental design. The two types of available certifications are Design Certification and Built Certification. Design Certification is accessible to new construction and major renovation projects before the building is occupied, and Built Certification is accessible for existing or recently completed buildings that are occupied and in use. This certification program is tailored for building types such as retail, multifamily, residential, and offices.
FitWel addresses seven health impact categories:
- Improving the health of the occupant and the surrounding community. This may include children in nearby schools or families in surrounding neighborhoods.
- Reducing morbidity and absenteeism by using strategies to promote decreased rates of chronic disease and mental health conditions. Fewer illnesses and a reduction in disease transmission means fewer missed days of work and more work productivity.
- Supporting social equity for vulnerable populations to guarantee all persons have increased access to health-promoting opportunities. Vulnerable populations may have decreased accessibility to doctors, medication, etc., so this strategy ensures all building employees receive the same opportunities.
- Encouraging feelings of comfort and happiness by promoting inclusion, relaxation, and perceptions of safety. This is achieved by brightening spaces, keeping spaces clean, enhancing a connection to nature, and welcoming social interactions.
- Providing occupants access to healthier food options, promote healthier choices, and reduce the cost of healthier options.
- Promoting occupant safety.
- Increasing physical activity through routine activities such as walking up the stairs or providing access to fitness areas and equipment.
These categories are all interconnected with no single governing category or area of focus and they all circle back to the main topic of the certification: occupant health. VCA Green is well-equipped to assist architects and developers pursuing FitWel and several other building certification programs. For more information, contact Moe Fakih below:
Moe Fakih, Principal
Contributing Writer: Devin Green
Text & Image Source: “What Are the Fitwel Standards?” Fitwel, https://www.fitwel.org/standard.