The Battle of the Health and Wellness Certification Systems

The Battle of the Health and Wellness Certification Systems

With a push towards healthier buildings and occupant wellbeing, two new rating systems have emerged: WELL and Fitwel. Both rating systems have researched-based strategies that focus on the design, operations and behaviors within new construction and existing building projects. These strategies impact the places we live and work to enhance building performance that improves human health and wellbeing. Find out below how these two rating systems compare.

WELL Building Standard was the first system that focused soley on the health and wellness of building occupants. It was developed by Delos, managed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and third party certified by Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI). WELL contains some synergies with LEED, but overall it emphases quality of air, water or lighting versus reducing energy and water consumption.

This system focuses on several categories: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, Community and Innovations that require a combination of on-site assessments and performance testing paired with some prescriptive standards. Project teams interested in pursuing WELL will need to discuss implementation strategies early in the design process.

Fitwel offers a practical, cost-effective building rating system that focuses on enhancing building design and operations to improve occupant health and productivity. It was developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and General Services Administration (GSA), while the Center for Active Design (CfAD) is the operator of the program and responsible for third party certification.

This system focuses on several categories including Location, Building Access, Outdoor Spaces, Entrances and Ground Floor, Stairs, Indoor Environments, Dwellings or Workspaces, Shared Spaces, Water Supply, Food Services and Vending Machines, as well as Emergency Procedures. Fitwel is relatively east to implement and the certification process is simple.