Fitwel expands to multifamily structures
The Center for Active Design (CfAD) is expanding of Fitwel certification to include multifamily residential structures, making it the only qualifying mechanism for Fannie Mae’s Healthy Housing Rewards financial incentive program.
Named one of Fast Company’s 2017 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Good, Fitwel is considered the premier system for optimizing building design and operations to improve health and well-being outcomes, according to a release. After launching to the private sector in March 2017, Fitwel has a global imprint, impacting more than 250,000 building occupants with more than 380 projects certified or in progress.
The Fitwel Certification System was initially created for office buildings and corporate campuses in response to the growing demand for healthier buildings and workspaces, serving as a market differentiator to retain and attract tenants. Fitwel was created as a joint initiative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) together with the General Services Administration.
Recognizing the demand for a health-promoting certification system for residential settings, CfAD, in collaboration with the CDC and experts from the design and development community, expanded Fitwel to directly target multifamily residential buildings and developments.
For affordable housing properties, Fitwel offers an opportunity to access a new financial incentive from Fannie Mae. Today, Fitwel is the only certification system that qualifies access to Fannie Mae’s Healthy Housing Rewards initiative, which offers below market rate loan pricing for borrowers who incorporate health-promoting design features into their newly constructed or rehabilitated multifamily affordable rental properties.
Establishing itself as a vanguard in the healthy building movement, AvalonBay Communities, Inc., a leading equity REIT with a long-term track record of developing, redeveloping, acquiring, and managing distinctive residences, is the first residential-only developer to become a Fitwel Champion and commit to implement Fitwel’s multifamily residential scorecard in their portfolio.
“Our purpose is to create a better way to live for our residents, and we know that innovation in residential well-being and partnering with Fitwel will certainly improve the health and well-being of our residents,” said Mark Delisi, senior director of corporate responsibility at AvalonBay Communities.
As part of the Fitwel Certification System, Fitwel for multifamily residential consists of a set of evidence-based strategies, representing the best science that exists linking health with design. Each Fitwel strategy is linked by empirical evidence to at least one of seven health impact categories and encourages incorporation of opportunities for physical activity, healthy food and drink options, proximity to outdoor spaces, limited exposure to pollutants and emergency preparedness.
Fitwel for multifamily residential is optimized for use in new and existing buildings and for market rate, affordable, and senior residential properties. Fitwel's technology-based system creates an efficient and user-friendly experience, helping to further ensure accessibility and ease of use by everyone from real estate developers to facility managers.
Fitwel is committed to ensuring the most comprehensive outcomes for individuals, buildings and communities and has intentionally been priced to be cost-effective, making it accessible to as many properties as possible, officials said.