Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., a California real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on collaborative science and technology campuses in urban innovation clusters, has become the first and only REIT to be named a first-in-class Fitwel champion, according to a press release.
To date, Alexandria, also the first company to receive Fitwel certifications for its buildings, has earned five Fitwel three-star ratings — the top rating achievable — demonstrating the highest levels of occupant health and wellness at four of its dynamic and thriving campuses in Cambridge, San Francisco, New York City and San Diego.
Fitwel is a low-cost, high-impact evidence-based building certification standard developed by experts in public health and design, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA), to foster positive impacts on building occupant health and productivity through improvements to workplace design and policies. Operated by the Center for Active Design (CfAD), the ratings program evaluates all building and office environment features, such as proximity to public transit, access to fitness facilities, design of outdoor spaces, indoor air quality and healthy food options.
“Our leadership and regional teams are very supportive and enthusiastic about utilizing the tool in our campus development and operations to advance our goal of increasing employee health and wellness,” said Vincent R. Ciruzzi, chief development officer of Alexandria. “We look forward to collaborating with the CfAD and its partners, the CDC and the GSA, and the broader real estate community to grow the awareness and the practice of designing and operating buildings in a manner that is not only scientifically proven to improve health and well-being and increase physical activity, but also reduces the economic burden of disease on society.”
As an early adopter of the Fitwel rating system, Alexandria will use Fitwel’s ratings assessments to implement recommended improvements across its Class A properties as part of its continued efforts to make tenant and employee wellness a top priority for tenants on its urban innovation campuses.
Research by the CDC has shown that promoting health through programs, policies and environmental changes can support employee health and productivity and garner potential savings in healthcare costs.
“There is a wealth of evidence linking the built environment with personal and public health. People spend around 90 percent of their time indoors, and Fitwel turns the most compelling evidence into action. As building owners and operators, like Alexandria, implement improvements based on the findings they receive from Fitwel, buildings across the country will enable healthier occupant behaviors,” said Liz York, chief sustainability officer of the CDC.
The best practices in the Fitwel framework were developed based on the CDC’s review of more than 3,000 research studies, and the framework allows for change, over time, as the scientific evidence evolves. Fitwel’s 63 practical measures are proven to have the most substantial effect on the health and wellness of building occupants and communities.