The Leader Magazine

MAR 2019

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F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 42 March 2019 the leader Real estate plays big role in advancing people-centric workplaces by Reena Agarwal and Symphony Chau I n recent years, leaders from across the real estate industry have become increasingly aware of the impact that the design and maintenance of their buildings have on health, and this trend is influencing investors, building owners, and tenants. Between 2015 and 2017, the wellness real estate industry experienced a 6.4 percent annual growth rate – nearly twice the rate of global economic growth during that same period 1 . Further, as corporate responsibility has become more of a priority, the investment community is projecting the potential for $15- to $20-trillion increased asset inflows over the next two or three decades, due to the dramatic rise in Millennials' interest in investing in companies that promote environmental, social, and governance factors 2 . Finally, the industry is experiencing increased demand for healthy amenities from tenants, with wellness listed among the top 10 emerging trends in the JLL 2018 Global Trends report 3 . f itwel sets the standard The Fitwel Certification System was jointly developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. General Services Administration to help the real estate industry optimize buildings in the support of health. Fitwel was launched for public use in 2017 by the Center for Active Design (CfAD), a not-for-profit organization that serves as the operator and the third-party certifier of Fitwel. Fitwel has experienced a remarkable response from the real estate industry. The standard not only provides approachable solutions to meet increased demand from employees, tenants, and investors, but it also uses data to demonstrate impact on human health. Within the workplace context, Fitwel offers application within single- and multi-tenant buildings, along with the tenant spaces of office buildings. Fitwel design and operational strategies address a broad range of health behaviors and risks and represent the best science that exists linking design with health. Each strategy is associated with a weighted point system, allowing strategies that are associated with a higher level of health impact to garner more points within projects. This method also allows Fitwel to continue to grow and morph as the science behind each strategy expands over time. Fitwel strategies are linked by empirical evidence to at least one of the following Health Impact Categories: 1. Increases Physical Activity 2. Promotes Occupant Safety 3. Reduces Morbidity + Absenteeism 4. Supports Social Equity for Vulnerable Populations 5. Instills Feelings of Well-Being 6. Impacts Community Health 7. Provides Healthy Food Options r eal estate is leading the way The real estate industry leads the way in adopting, implementing, and championing Fitwel's evidence-based and data-driven approach to incorporating healthy design strategies across portfolios of existing and new-construction buildings. Following are case studies on two projects that have successfully implemented Fitwel's design and operational strategies to support the health of their tenants. © The Center for Active Design

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