Center For Active Design Launches Fitwel Viral Response Module For Building Certification

Five leading real estate companies commit to prototyping the module, informed by a Fitwel Academic Advisory Group comprised of health experts from world-renowned institutions.

Fitwel®, the healthy building certification system operated by The Center for Active Design (CfAD), has announced the launch of its Viral Response module, which provides annual, third-party building certification of policies and practices informed by the latest public health research on mitigating the spread of infectious diseases. Fitwel will provide recognition for implementation of the Viral Response module at a company level and/or within individual assets. Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration.

The module — which is being developed with input from health experts and industry leaders — will set the industry standard for optimizing buildings in response to the broad health impacts of infectious diseases in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FitwelThe five real estate companies who will prototype the module include:

  • Harrison Street
  • QuadReal Property Group
  • Tishman Speyer
  • Triovest Realty Advisors
  • Vornado Realty Trust

Additionally, a Fitwel Academic Advisory Group will add expert insights on the evolving research and impact of COVID-19 and ensure the Viral Response module reflects best practices for viral mitigation. The following experts are among those participating in the Academic Advisories.

  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, ScD, Director of Health Strategy, View Inc. and Research Associate, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York

Interested users are encouraged to visit to request early access to content, download a fact sheet with pricing details, or register for an online tutorial session.

The Fitwel Viral Response module allows building owners, companies, and commercial tenants to demonstrate compliance with evidence-based, cost-effective strategies that mitigate viral transmission and build trust to create healthy and resilient environments for all occupants.

“The COVID-19 crisis has made health an essential consideration for all involved in the built environment. The Fitwel Viral Response module offers a critical cost-effective approach that provides practical solutions to address the immediate crisis while supporting significant long-term benefits,” said Joanna Frank, President and CEO of CfAD. “The companies advising on the development of this module are at the forefront of environmental, social, and governance programs, and they continue to demonstrate their leadership and commitment to social impact through investments in health.”

The module operationalizes the guidelines outlined in Fitwel’s recently published resource series “Research to Action: Building Health for All® in the Face of COVID-19.” This five-chapter series translates emerging public health studies on COVID-19 as well as a wealth of research and public health expertise on addressing past viral epidemics.

Building on this body of research, the module is designed to support physical, mental and social health, and promote greater levels of trust between building owners and their tenants as well as companies and their employees. It includes strategies related to cleaning and maintenance; indoor air and water quality; educational signage; emergency preparedness and pandemic planning; stakeholder engagement and collaboration; communication best practices; and health promotion planning. Its creation aligns with Fitwel’s ongoing commitment to promote healthy environments for all through strategies informed by more than 5,600 peer-reviewed published studies.

Fitwel is a certification system committed to building health for all™. Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration. The CDC remains the research and evaluation partner for Fitwel. The Center for Active Design, a global not-for-profit organization, was selected as the licensed operator of Fitwel, charged with expanding Fitwel to the global market.

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