NEW YORK, July 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- One year after introducing the Viral Response Module (VRM), Fitwel® – the world's leading healthy building certification system – today announced that more than 100 million square feet of commercial real estate properties have achieved certification. This is a significant milestone that has the potential to positively impact the health of hundreds of thousands of building occupants, and demand for the VRM continues to grow. The VRM's innovative two-step process allows companies to adopt rigorous policies aligned with the best science available in order certify at the enterprise level, and then rapidly and cost-effectively implement at scale across individual assets.
In the second quarter, Brookfield Properties, Nuveen Real Estate and Barings Real Estate represent some of the latest major real estate owners to certify enterprise-level operational policies. The entirety of Brookfield Properties' core operating office portfolio in Washington D.C. received the accreditation. BentallGreenOak continued its industry leadership by becoming the first company to achieve a second VRM certification that covers its entire 25.7 million-square-foot Canadian portfolio, after its U.S. portfolio was certified earlier this year. Unico Properties certified its entire 18 million-square-foot portfolio and is among the first to secure asset-level approvals at scale, with 30 of its buildings in six of its markets successfully implementing the company's viral response policies.
Major commercial office tenants including Salesforce have also made significant progress in optimizing their corporate environments to mitigate the spread of infectious disease by using the VRM to certify policies for their corporate portfolios in Q2.
"A year after we first announced the development of the VRM, it's highly encouraging to see many of the world's leading real estate owners continue to adopt and implement viral response strategies across their diverse portfolios," said Joanna Frank, President and CEO of CfAD, which certifies and maintains the Fitwel standard. "We're also seeing large corporate tenants become highly active in certifying their office portfolios, reflecting the practicality of the module's strategies and highlighting their strong desire to safeguard the health of colleagues and employees as we prepare for the largest return to office in history."
Greg Meyer, Executive Vice President and Head of Greater DC Region, Brookfield Properties, stated, "Across the region, tenants are returning to the office, and our goal is to ensure they are welcomed with a safe and healthy environment. Working with Fitwel to implement their VRM strategies across our entire operating office portfolio has been essential to that. From helping us evaluate products and policies to encouraging behavioral changes in our buildings, we have successfully incorporated impactful 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 operations that safeguard occupant health and wellness, Fitwel recently updated the VRM, integrating the very latest research regarding viral transmission in the built environment. Given the rigor of the science behind the 2020 VRM launch, this update does not introduce new strategies, but instead provides clarifications and expanded pathways for achieving strategies, as well as additional policy templates and protocol guides that support a return to full occupancy. By incorporating the best science available, the VRM supports companies' efforts to build a more resilient portfolio prepared to address COVID-19 as well as future contagious disease outbreaks.
Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategies advanced in the VRM were developed with input from a diverse group of public health experts from leading institutions such as Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Queensland University of Technology and prototyped by industry leaders. The module provides turnkey policy solutions that allow companies to seamlessly adopt Fitwel's strategies for a multi-faceted approach to optimize health and wellness throughout their properties.
Unlike other solutions that provide more generalized approaches to viral mitigation, Fitwel's VRM 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.
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 (CfAD), a global not-for-profit organization, maintains the Fitwel standard and conducts objective third-party assessments that lead to certified projects. CfAD's new business unit, Adai (pronounced "a-DAY"), is charged with expanding Fitwel to the global market, administering the program while providing best-in-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 assets. We are active in nearly all real estate sectors, including office, retail, multifamily, hospitality and logistics, operating more than 675 properties and over 325 million square feet of real estate in gateway cities around the globe on behalf of Brookfield Asset Management, one of the largest asset managers in the world. With a focus on sustainability, a commitment to excellence, and the drive for relentless innovation in the planning, development and management of buildings and their surroundings, Brookfield Properties is reimagining real estate from the ground up. For more information, visit www.brookfieldproperties.com.
SOURCE Center for Active Design