BREEAM USA and Fitwel Announce Alignment to Promote Health and Environmental Outcomes within the Real Estate Industry

The Center for Active Design (CfAD) and BRE America have today announced a crosswalk between the Fitwel Certification System and the BREEAM USA In-Use standard, developing a straightforward and cost-efficient process for projects pursuing both certifications. Under the agreement, the organizations have mutually identified specific documented credits that will be recognized by both organizations, saving project teams the time and costs associated with developing certification documentation twice.

BREEAM, the world’s most widely used green building certification and Fitwel, the leading global health certification strive to impact the environment, health, and people. Both systems are evidence-based and are continuously strengthened based on evolving research. Working in tandem, projects certifying with BREEAM and Fitwel can help combat climate change and the human health impacts associated with global warming. Certification in both systems is achieved through the submission of project documentation with post-occupancy performance verification for Fitwel and on-site assessments by BREEAM USA.

Fitwel and BREEAM have user-friendly digital tools and both programs can be used in all commercial existing buildings regardless of the size, age or condition. Additionally, while the systems were created for initial use in existing buildings, Fitwel and BREEAM can also be applied to new construction projects. No prerequisites are required for either certification, which allows for an uncomplicated and affordable process and gives existing buildings the tools needed to strive towards a lower carbon footprint with much healthier occupants.

BRE (Building Research Establishment), is a world leading, multi-discipline building science center which developed BREEAM in 1990. Today, BREEAM has more certifications than any other green rating system with over 2,250,000 registered projects and over 550,000 certified buildings worldwide across more than 70 countries. In 2016, BRE partnered with BuildingWise to finally bring the BREEAM standard to the American market.

"As the very first green building rating system, BREEAM was built on and is continually updated based on science. Fitwel, recently developed by U.S. CDC is also based on science - which makes these complimentary programs “fit well” together as standards," said Barry Giles, CEO of BREEAM USA. “We are excited to join forces with Fitwel as BREEAM In-Use focuses on the whole existing building and Fitwel adds value with positive outcomes on the health and well-being of the people in them. We are a perfect fit together.”

The Fitwel certification system was created over a five-year period as a joint initiative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration, with its ongoing operations and development led by the CfAD. After just launching to the private sector in March 2017, Fitwel already has a global imprint, impacting more than 250,000 building occupants with over 380 registered and certified projects.

Fitwel provides 63 cost effective design and operational strategies for enhancing building environments to improve occupant health and productivity, such as dedicated lactation rooms, accessible stairways, and pest management plans.

Each Fitwel strategy is linked to one of seven health impact categories: (1) community health impact; (2) absenteeism reduction; (3) wellbeing promotion; (4) healthy food options; (5) increased physical activity; (6) occupant safety; and (7) social equity for vulnerable populations.

“CfAD’s partnership with BREEAM signals to the industry that based on science, buildings can be optimized to promote both health and environmental sustainability outcomes in an efficient yet effective manner,” said Joanna Frank, President & CEO of CfAD. “We are delighted to join with BREEAM In-Use to further combat the negative health impacts of climate change.”

A briefing paper describing the crosswalk can be found at BREEAM USA and at Fitwel.

About Fitwel & the Center for Active Design

Named one of Fast Company's 2017 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Good, Fitwel is the premiere global health certification system for optimizing building design and operations. Generated by expert analysis of over 3,000 academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are enhanced to strengthen health and wellbeing. Fitwel was created as a joint initiative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention d together with the General Services Administration. The Center for Active Design, an international non-profit that uses design to foster healthy and engaged communities was awarded the exclusive operating license in 2016 with the mandate to expand Fitwel globally to the private sector. Twitter: @active_design + @fitwel

About BRE America & BREEAM USA

BREEAM USA is a partnership between BRE Group, the world’s leading authority on all aspects of the built environment, and BuildingWise, the award-winning U.S.-based LEED certification consultancy, established to provide a sustainability certification and improvement solution to the 5.6 million existing buildings in the United States not covered by existing green building programs. For more information, please visit

FITWEL & Design is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Participation by The Center for Active Design and/or any other organization does not imply endorsement by HHS.