One Year After Fitwel® Introduced Viral Response Module, 100 Million SF of Commercial Real Estate Properties Have Achieved Certification
The growing list of the largest real estate companies including Brookfield Properties, Nuveen Real Estate and Barings Real Estate, as well as large corporate tenants like Salesforce continue to optimize their portfolios to protect the health and wellbeing of residents
New VRM updates include clarifications and expanded paths to achieve strategies, as well as new guideline templates to allow greater flexibility in implementation
NEW YORK, July 23, 2021 / PRNewswire / – One year after introducing the Viral Response Module (VRM), Fitwel® – The World’s Leading Healthy Buildings Certification System – announced today that more than 100 million square feet of commercial real estate have received certification. This is a significant milestone that has the potential to positively impact the health of hundreds of thousands of building users, and the demand for VRM continues to grow. The innovative two-step process of the VRM enables companies to adopt strict guidelines based on the best available scientific evidence to certify at the company level and then quickly and cost-effectively implement on a large scale for individual plants.
In the second quarter, Brookfield Properties, Nuveen Real Estate, and Barings Real Estate represent some of the latest major real estate owners to certify company-level operating policies. The entire core business portfolio of Brookfield Properties in Washington, DC received the accreditation. BentallGreenOak continued its industry leadership by becoming the first company to receive a second VRM certification, covering its entire 25.7 million square foot Canadian portfolio, after its US portfolio was certified earlier this year. Unico Properties has certified its entire 18 million square foot portfolio and is one of the first to receive full facility-level approvals. 30 of its buildings in six of its stores are successfully implementing the company’s viral response policy.
The story goes on
Large office tenants, including Salesforce, also made significant strides optimizing their corporate environments to contain the spread of infectious diseases by using the VRM to certify guidelines for their corporate portfolios in the second quarter.
“A year after we first announced the development of the VRM, it is very encouraging to see many of the world’s leading real estate owners continue to adopt and implement viral response strategies across their various portfolios,” said Joanna Frank, President and CEO of CfAD, which certifies and maintains the Fitwel standard. “We are also seeing large corporate tenants becoming very active in certifying their office portfolios, reflecting the practicality of the module’s strategies and underscoring their strong desire to protect the health of colleagues and employees as we look forward to the largest return to office in history to prepare. “
Gregor Meyer, Executive Vice President and Head of the Greater DC Region, Brookfield Properties, said, “Tenants across the region are returning to the office and our goal is to ensure they are welcomed in a safe and healthy environment, according to VRM strategies for our entire portfolio of operations offices. From helping with product and policy evaluation to promoting behavioral changes in our buildings, we’ve successfully implemented effective measures to create healthy, flexible, and productive offices. “
As part of its ongoing efforts to set and maintain the global standard for building design, programming and operation to protect the health and wellbeing of residents, Fitwel recently updated the VRM to incorporate the latest research on virus transmission in the built environment. Given the rigor of science behind the VRM rollout in 2020, this update doesn’t introduce any new strategies, but instead provides clarifications and expanded ways to achieve strategies, plus additional policy templates and protocol guides to aid a return to full occupancy. By incorporating the best available science, the VRM supports companies’ efforts to build a more resilient portfolio prepared for COVID-19 as well as future infectious disease outbreaks.
Developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the VRM’s strategies were developed with input from a diverse group of public health experts from leading institutions such as: Columbia University Irving Medical Center and University of Queensland of technology and prototypes from industry leaders. The module provides turnkey policy solutions that enable companies to seamlessly adopt Fitwel’s strategies for a multi-faceted approach to optimizing health and wellbeing in their properties.
Unlike other solutions that offer more general approaches to virus containment, Fitwels VRM has set specific business best practices by setting minimum requirements to contain virus transmission while providing turnkey guidelines to ensure an efficient and consistent Approach to ensure industry orientation. The module also creates economies of scale and makes it affordable to spread an effective viral response across entire portfolios.
For more information on the Viral Response module, click here.
Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system dedicated to building health for everyone®. Based on expert analysis of over 5,600 academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are improved to improve health and wellbeing. Fitwel was originally founded by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the US General Services Administration. The CDC remains Fitwel’s research and evaluation partner. The Center for Active Design (CfAD), a global not-for-profit organization, upholds the Fitwel standard and conducts objective third-party assessments that lead to certified projects. CfAD’s new business unit, Adai (pronounced “a-DAY”), is tasked with expanding Fitwel into the global marketplace, administering the program, while providing world-class customer service and technical support. To learn more about Fitwel, please visit: www.fitwel.org.
About Brookfield Properties
Brookfield Properties is a leading global developer and operator of high quality real estate. Serving almost every real estate sector including office, retail, apartment buildings, hospitality and logistics, we operate more than 675 properties and over 325 million square feet in gateway cities around the world on behalf of Brookfield Asset Management, a leading company World the largest asset managers in the world. With a focus on sustainability, a commitment to excellence and a pursuit of relentless innovation in the design, development and management of buildings and their surroundings, Brookfield Properties is reinventing real estate from the ground up. More information is available at www.brookfieldproperties.com.
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