NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Fitwel®, the healthy building certification system operated by the Center for Active Design (CfAD), is pleased to announce that more of the world's leading real estate investment managers and developers, including BentallGreenOak (BGO), Hudson Pacific Properties (NYSE: HPP) and Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) have certified their operational policies using the Viral Response (VR) module. These achievements demonstrate that the biggest names in real estate are choosing the Fitwel Viral Response module's evidence-based operational policies and best practices to effectively mitigate the spread of infectious respiratory diseases, for implementation at scale across diverse asset portfolios.
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March, CfAD announced its commitment to develop the premier evidence-based third-party certification for companies seeking guidance and recognition in upgrading their policies and practices to mitigate viral transmission. CfAD collaborated with global health experts and trusted industry advisors to rapidly prototype the VR module and set the gold standard for mitigating contagious diseases in buildings using the best scientific evidence available. The module establishes minimum standards and provides turn key strategies that building management and HR teams can implement in order to optimize indoor environments, encourage behavior change and build trust among occupants.
Today's announcement underscores the rapid uptake and widespread impact of Fitwel's VR module. A growing list of leading companies have successfully applied the VR module to upgrade and certify their companies' policies and practices for contagious disease mitigation. Collectively, BGO, Vornado and Hudson Pacific's Viral Response policies will potentially impact more than 36 million square feet of commercial and residential assets.
Dan Egan, SVP, Sustainability & Utilities at Vornado, said, "Vornado is pleased to be among the first companies to have earned the Fitwel Viral Response Certification from the Center for Active Design. In this unprecedented year, Vornado accelerated and built upon our long-standing commitment to provide safe, healthy workspaces that support and promote the well-being of our employees, tenants and visitors. Thank you to the Center for Active Design for this recognition and to our team at Vornado for stepping up during this challenging time and for their incredible efforts and dedication."
Natalie Teear, Vice President, Sustainability and Social Impact at Hudson Pacific, added, "The health, safety and wellness of our employees and tenants is our top priority. Using Fitwel's Viral Response module across our portfolio is a great way to ensure we are a leader in keeping our buildings COVID-safe."
Amy Price, Managing Partner and Co-Head of US, BentallGreenOak, said, "Our clients, investors and tenants are living through the turbulence of this pandemic, and our firm understands the fiduciary responsibility we bear to integrate resilience, preparedness, and risk mitigation directly in to the real estate assets that we manage on their behalf. The investment manager of the future must be able to demonstrate a systems-wide readiness to address the threat of contagious disease, today. Through this entity-level certification, BentallGreenOak is further investing in its commitment to ESG by fostering an approach across our US office portfolio that prioritizes health and safety."
Fitwel's two-step VR module certification process enables companies the flexibility to establish and implement viral response policies at scale. Users can establish policies to cover any portfolio, selection of assets or individual tenant spaces that have consistent operational practices, then submit to have their policies certified by CfAD in a six-week, double-blind review process. Once the certified strategies policies and practices are implemented at the asset level, companies can submit to CfAD for asset-level approval. This step verifies that the strategies have been put into practice, at which point asset(s) are eligible to install a Viral Response decal and CfAD recognizes this achievement with a plaque that companies can use to convey to occupants that their building is optimized to mitigate the spread of infectious respiratory diseases.
Joanna Frank, President and CEO of CfAD, said, "The bottom line is residents and employees want to know that they can trust that the spaces where they spend the majority of their time have been optimized for their health. The VR module was created with this in mind and serves as a practical and cost-effective solution for real estate companies to roll out effective viral mitigation strategies at scale. The pandemic has created significant challenges across the world, but it has also made clear how our environments impact our well-being. We're pleased to see the real estate industry rise to the challenge presented by COVID-19 to further advance the healthy building movement."
Unlike other solutions that provide more generalized approaches to viral mitigation, Fitwel's VR module has established specific best practices for companies to follow by setting minimum requirements that are necessary to mitigate viral transmission, while providing turnkey policies to ensure an efficient and consistent approach to guide the industry. The module also creates economies of scale, making it affordable to roll out an effective viral response across entire portfolios. For more information on the Viral Response module, click here.
About Fitwel and the Center for Active Design
Fitwel is the world's leading certification system committed to building health for all®. Generated by expert analysis of 5,600+ academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are enhanced to strengthen health and well-being. Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration. The CDC remains the research and evaluation partner for Fitwel. The Center for Active Design, a global not-for-profit organization, was selected as the licensed operator of Fitwel, charged with expanding Fitwel to the global market. To learn more about Fitwel, please visit: www.fitwel.org.
BentallGreenOak is a leading, global real estate investment management advisor and a globally-recognized provider of real estate services. BentallGreenOak serves the interests of more than 750 institutional clients with approximately $50 billion USD of assets under management (as of September 30, 2020) and expertise in the asset management of office, retail, industrial and multi-residential property across the globe. BentallGreenOak has offices in 24 cities across twelve countries with deep, local knowledge, experience, and extensive networks in the regions where we invest and manage real estate assets on behalf of our clients. BentallGreenOak is a part of SLC Management, which is the institutional alternatives and traditional asset management business of Sun Life.
The assets under management shown above include real estate equity and mortgage investments managed by the BentallGreenOak group of companies and their affiliates.
For more information, please visit www.bentallgreenoak.com
About Vornado Realty Trust
Vornado Realty Trust is a fully-integrated equity real estate investment trust.
About Hudson Pacific Properties
Hudson Pacific is a real estate investment trust with a portfolio of office and studio properties totaling nearly 19 million square feet, including land for development. Focused on premier West Coast epicenters of innovation, media and technology, its anchor tenants include Fortune 500 and leading growth companies such as Netflix, Google, Square, Uber, NFL Enterprises and more. Hudson Pacific is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol HPP and listed as a component of the S&P MidCap 400 Index. For more information visit HudsonPacificProperties.com.
SOURCE Center for Active Design