6 February 2023
Sophie Hazza, Consultant, Fitwel Lead
At Longevity Partners, we are dedicated to providing market-leading guidance that enables the social and environmental sustainability of our clients’ assets to be maximized. That is why we are excited to offer Fitwel certification services for real estate investors and property owners.
What is Fitwel?
Developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC (Center for Disease Control)) and U.S. General Services Administration, and operated by the Center for Active Design, Fitwel is a globally recognized rating system that specifically focuses on the health and wellness of building occupants. Launched in early 2017, Fitwel is backed by extensive research on the impact of design and operational practices on occupant health.
Fitwel is unique in its approach to assessing wellness strategies in buildings, as it considers the specific type of asset under review and the intended use of the building. This results in a more tailored approach, resulting in clear guidance for landlords of real estate assets. The 8 scorecards used for assessing buildings are workspace, retail, senior housing, multi-family-residential, commercial interiors, multi-tenant (base and whole), and single tenant.
The Fitwel certification system employs a rating system that ranges from 1 to 3 stars, with a maximum score of 144 points. To qualify for a 1 star, an asset must earn at least 90 points. These points are earned across 11 distinct categories, which include key wellness topics such as walkability, access to outdoor spaces, indoor environmental quality, and water supply.
Why is obtaining a Fitwel certification so important, and how can it benefit real estate investors and property owners?
Certifying an asset, or a portfolio of assets, has many diversified benefits, including the improvement of tenant health and satisfaction, an increase in property value and rental yield, an enhanced reputation, and the potential to cut costs overall.
Improved tenant health and satisfaction: One of the main benefits of Fitwel certification is that it helps improve the overall health and well-being of building occupants. By incorporating features like natural light, access to outdoor space, and healthy food options, Fitwel-certified buildings can help reduce stress, improve productivity, and promote overall health and happiness among tenants. This can lead to increased tenant retention and satisfaction, ultimately resulting in increased profits for landlords.
Increased property value: Fitwel certification can also lead to an increase in property value. As the increase in people becoming concerned about the environmental and health impacts of the buildings they live and work in rises, Fitwel-certified properties are likely to be in higher demand. This means that landlords and investors can potentially command higher rental rates and see an increase in the value of their properties. A 2020 report from MIT found that commercial properties with healthy building certifications such as Fitwel, increase rental premiums between 4.4-7.7% per square foot than non-certified neighbouring properties. The study also identified that one in two owners reported leasing their properties with a building certification faster than their properties without one.
Enhanced reputation: Obtaining Fitwel certification can also help enhance the reputation of a property and the proprietor or investor who owns it. By demonstrating a commitment to the health and well-being of tenants, property owners and investors can differentiate themselves from the competition and potentially attract more high-quality tenants. Fitwel partners with BREEAM, GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark), USBCG, and RESE to ensure standards are both aligned and complementary.
Cost savings: Obtaining a Fitwel certification can also lead to cost savings for property owners and investors. By incorporating energy-efficient and water-saving features, Fitwel-certified buildings can reduce utility costs and save money on maintenance. Additionally, by promoting healthy habits and maintaining high-standard indoor environments for tenants, Fitwel-certified buildings can potentially reduce healthcare costs for tenants, which can also lead to cost savings for property owners.
In conclusion, Fitwel certification is an important and valuable tool for real estate investors and property owners looking to enhance the health, well-being, and value of their properties. By incorporating features that promote health and wellness, Fitwel-certified buildings can lead to increased tenant satisfaction, higher property values, enhanced reputations, and cost savings. If you are a real estate investor or property owner looking to make your properties more sustainable and efficient, we highly recommend considering Fitwel certification. P.S. For GRESB reporting 2024, Fitwel Certifications should be conducted within the year 2023.
Contact Longevity Partners Today
Our team of sustainability experts is here to help guide you through the certification process and make your properties as healthy and efficient as possible. If you are interested in certifying an asset – or portfolio of assets – under the Fitwel Certification scheme, or if you have any question about the process, please reach out to myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) and our Head of Operational Certifications, Peter Howle (email@example.com). Alternatively, you can give us a call at our Headquarters in London, United Kingdom at +44 20 3693 9814
Fitwel — Our Team & Advisors | What is the Fitwel Certification? (n.d.). Retrieved from fitwel.org website: https://www.fitwel.org/our-team-advisors
Sadikin, N, Turan I & Chegut, A (2020), The Financial Impact of Healthy Buildings, MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, Retrieved at The Financial Impact of Healthy Buildings -Real Estate Innovation Lab (mit.edu)