Diagram decorative image

What’s the Buzz? Making Sense of Wellness Certifications

By Aliza Skolnik and Tim Zelazny

There’s been plenty of buzz about three relatively new health and wellness certifications that have appeared in our market – WELL, Fitwel and RESET. The chatter shouldn’t be surprising, given that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors and their lack of health and wellness can account for billions of dollars in productivity losses annually.

Occupant concern about personal health and well-being is on the rise. In fact, 1/3 of people now track their health via their smartphone or watch, and more than half of Millennials believe it’s important to live or work in a healthy environment (a number which exceeds their predecessors, the Gen Xers and the Baby Boomers).

But what are these certifications all about? Let’s take a look at this chart for some basic guidance:

So what are the key differences among the three choices?

  • WELL is the most comprehensive and costly health and wellness certification. It provides the greatest number of strategies to improve employee health and wellness; however, the fees for certification are high due to the required on-site verification.
  • FitWel is not as comprehensive as WELL since there are no required credits and no on-site verification. This certification focuses more heavily on the health and wellness aspects of an existing building and site (e.g. walkability/location, building IAQ policies, access to exercise). TI projects located in urban high-rises near a park can take advantage of this.
  • RESET approaches health and wellness certification from a different perspective by focusing on measured results for air quality. RESET introduces mandatory sensor specifications, performance tracking metrics, and IAQ thresholds. Air quality is constantly monitored and reviewed annually by the certification body.

ESD has experience on multiple projects that have incorporated health and wellness certifications, and has presented widely on the subject. As a participant in the first WELL AP provisional class, ESD has been at the forefront of the health and wellness movement.

Please reach out to ESD for more information or questions about your project.

Our Mission is to Improve Society Through the Built Environment.

See More News & Events