Fitwel for Higher Education
Fitwel is a healthy building certification system aimed at creating facilities that improve the health and well-being of occupants. We have previously explored the benefits of certification and provided a high-level overview of the certification process. This blog post is going to explore the value of certification for buildings located in a campus setting, specifically colleges or universities. Pursuing building certifications such as Fitwel can support higher education institutions in fostering a prestigious image, showing commitment to student well-being, and staying at the forefront of innovation.
What makes a campus building a great candidate for Fitwel?
College campuses by nature often easily have criteria for location, building access, outdoor spaces, and shared spaces credits built in. They are walkable, have access to quality transit, and lots of green space and outdoor amenities.
Here are some easy credit opportunities for buildings in a campus setting:
- If the building pursuing certification is within a ½ mile walk from a campus recreation center, facilities in that center can be used to meet the requirements of several Shared Spaces strategies pertaining to mental wellness and physical fitness.
- If the building is within a ½ mile walk from a dining facility emphasizing healthy eating, that facility can be used to meet the requirements of several strategies for Prepared Food Areas.
- Academic buildings are mostly occupied by young and healthy people, this makes them great candidates for emphasizing stair use (thus earning points through the associated Stairs strategies) and pushing the boundaries of promoting physical activity to navigate the building.
Important distinctions about Fitwel specific to a campus setting
- Fitwel certification is building-specific. However, multiple Fitwel-certified buildings may be recognized as a Fitwel-certified campus.
- To achieve campus certification, all the buildings must be adjacent, related to one another, and under the same entity’s control.
- Each building is registered separately, with the option to select “Part of Campus” when registering each project.
- Once each building has achieved individual certification, the campus can be awarded an overall score and star rating based on the average score of all buildings within.
- Occupancy impacts the type of Fitwel certification pursued and the specific criteria that must be followed.
- Apartment-style residential buildings fall under the “Multifamily Residential” scorecard. The housing options must include bedrooms, bathrooms, living space, and kitchen areas within the individual units.
- All other campus buildings (academic and administrative buildings, recreation centers, libraries, etc.) would fall under the “Single Tenant Building” certification path.
- Campus buildings that primarily contain classrooms & workspace, retail, and residential areas are best suited for Fitwel certification.
Opportunities to Apply Fitwel to a Campus Setting
Fitwel is not limited to new construction, meaning campuses do not have to wait for the next new project to reap the benefits of investing in certification.
- Existing buildings can achieve Fitwel certification through “Built Certification.”
- All Fitwel certifications are valid for three years.
- New construction buildings can earn Design Certification (prior to occupancy) or Built Certification (post occupancy). After the three-year window, Design Certification projects would then apply for Built Certification. Built Certification projects would simply re-apply.
The campus setting and nature of typical amenities make college and university buildings great candidates for Fitwel certification. Certification can be used as a differentiator among similar institutions and is an opportunity to foster a prestigious image, show commitment to student well-being, and stay at the forefront of innovation. If this aligns with your goals and vision for your campus, reach out today for more information on the program, the benefits of certification, and how to get started. Email firstname.lastname@example.org