UL, a global safety science leader, and the Center for Active Design (CfAD), operator of Fitwel, a building certification system for health, have partnered with the aim to expand the market for healthier, more sustainable products, and buildings globally. This alignment represents the first time two leading certification bodies are uniting to provide comprehensive resources on healthy buildings and products for the design and real estate industries. China is the initial focus for the partnership with an aim to increase the adoption of the Fitwel Certification System in that country, while also providing architects, designers, and developers with more access to products with reduced risks to human health.
UL and CfAD will work together to expand the adoption of Fitwel in China, where the demand for healthier buildings is growing exponentially. According to a 2018 report from the Global Wellness Institute, 47% of consumers are willing to pay more for better indoor air quality and Beijing homebuyers will pay up to 14% more to be close to a park. With established and impactful standards for health-promoting features, including location and limits to product emissions that impact indoor air quality, both UL and CfAD will provide support for architects, buildings owners, and others in China looking to certify a building to the Fitwel standard.
To further accomplish this goal, UL and CfAD will collaborate to align products in the UL SPOT® database with Fitwel criteria, resulting in increased access for architects, designers, and building owners to more than 13,400 products in SPOT that can contribute to Fitwel requirements. Additionally, UL’s Wellness Certification program for products will be aligned to comply with criteria in the Fitwel system, making it easier for the industry to identify products that positively contribute to health and the achievement of Fitwel Certification.
“UL is excited to work with CfAD to increase the adoption of evidence-based wellness programs, such as Fitwel, because it complements UL’s Mission to develop healthier, more sustainable working and living environments,” said Alberto Uggetti, vice president and general manager, UL Environment. “Together we will increase the number of healthier buildings in China, make it easier to find products that contribute to Fitwel credits through SPOT, and promote healthier products globally.”
“As someone who has worked in the building industry for over 20 years, I have long admired UL’s approach to product certification and am proud that our organization is partnering with them to bring about market transformation in health,” said Joanna Frank, president and chief executive officer CfAD. “Our shared driving principles of bringing science-based solutions to improve health and wellness in the global real estate market make this partnership a natural fit and we anticipate rapid expansion of both of our programs in the Chinese and other new and existing markets.”
UL launched SPOT in 2016 and it has grown into a credible resource for architects, designers, and specifiers to identify sustainable products. SPOT is designed to facilitate product selection for green building projects and is searchable by LEED credit, MasterFormat® code, and certification programs, and features downloadable product documentation that supports the Fitwel submittal process. SPOT leverages UL’s extensive product performance and sustainability data to help purchasers and specifiers find credible products for their buildings.
Fitwel launched to the public market in early 2017 and has seen rapid adoption of the certification standard within workplaces and multifamily residential buildings. Fitwel offers a portfolio-based approach, allowing companies to certify all of their real estate assets in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Fitwel provides a user-friendly digital interface for project certification that provides the industry with data on health impact and company performance, which can be used to elevate ESG ratings.
Fitwel was created as a joint initiative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention together with the General Services Administration. The Center for Active Design, an international non-profit that uses design to foster healthy and engaged communities was awarded the exclusive operating license in 2016 with the mandate to expand Fitwel globally to the private sector.