“Building health for all®” – a mission statement that now is more essential than ever.  As the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally, the design industry, real estate professionals and business decision makers quickly took action to implement policies and procedures for the workplace that kept their clients and employees safe.  While everyone is anxiously awaiting the return to the workplace (tired of living in pajamas, juggling work and homeschooling, connecting to people through video calls, and figuring out how to navigate social distancing with neighbors on sidewalks), several changes have been incorporated into the office landscape to protect employees’ social, mental and physical health – effectively becoming the next phase of the ‘new norm’.

As the design industry is being inundated with research on what the “right” solution might be, one piece of information remains true.  Evidence-based facts truly carry the most weight.  This is where Fitwel falls into the equation.  Fitwel is the leading global health certification system that optimizes building design and operations to improve health and productivity outcomes.  Launched in 2017 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. General Services  Administration (GSA), the certification system thrives off a vision for a healthier future through the built environment.  The Center for Active Design (CfAD), Fitwel’s operator, uses over 5,000 evidence-based research studies backed by the CDC to certify projects worldwide.


The certification process is based on a weighted points system where the stronger the impact on human health, the more points allocated.  The seven Health Impact Categories include:

Structured as a portfolio-based approach, Fitwel is designed to be simple to implement and document with straight-forward requirements for different type of built environments.  There are ways to implement strategies into existing built projects and ways to plan for these strategies in proposed projects.  The certification approach is not as complex as WELL Building Standards (or as expensive) which makes Fitwel appealing as a small steps in the right direction approach to optimize health within a building or community.


While business owners, facilities managers, and design professionals are implementing immediate, soon, and distant solutions to address the current COVID-19 pandemic, Fitwel paints the big picture – creating a more resilient society with buildings and public places that support wellness and an optimal quality of life!

 Interested in finding out more regarding how to return to the workplace safely or the Fitwel certification system?  Remiger Design is here to help!  Our team can define each phase (immediate, soon, and distant) as it relates to your workplace.  We will also continue to share design ideas on suggested modifications to the workplace through our social media.  As a Fitwel Ambassador, Courtney is well-versed in the evidence-based connection between design and health and is leading the healthy building movement.

Courtney Padgitt, IIDA, Fitwel Ambassador, NCIDQ | |

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