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Office & workplace / Workforce

HDR “walks the talk” as Virginia offices achieve health and wellness standard

By Andrew Sansom 12 Apr 2018 0

Architects HDR have received certification against the Fitwel standard, a new global building certification system that promotes health, for its office in Arlington, Virginia.

The office, which is also LEED-platinum certified, is a two-level environment designed to promote collaboration, transparency and interconnected space. It received a 3 Star Rating, the highest possible under the Fitwel system.

As a Fitwel champion, HDR has committed to obtaining Fitwel certifications for a minimum of six of its offices. It will pursue certifications for its new Boston and Seattle offices and new global headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, with other locations yet to be determined.

Fitwel is a new evidence-based design standard that enables positive impacts on employee and resident health through improvements to design and operations in buildings. It was developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US General Services Administration, and is operated by the Center for Active Design (CfAD). HDR offices, Arlington, split-level view - HDR / Sheltering Arms

“It’s important for HDR to walk the talk when it comes to designing sustainable spaces that promote health,” said sustainability director Michaella Wittmann. “The health and wellness of our employees are of utmost importance. This rating system is just as important to us as the Envision rating system for sustainable infrastructure and the LEED certification for sustainable buildings that we adopt for our client projects.”

Wittmann added that HDR is engaging in a formal study to measure how the firm’s office spaces influence employees’ health and wellness. The study’s principal investigator is Jeri Brittin, a public health scientist who serves as HDR’s director of research.  

Commenting on the firm’s focus on fitwel, Reena Agarwal, chief operating officer at the CfAD, commented: “HDR’s commitment to optimising spaces in the support of employee health speaks to their industry leadership. We’re delighted that designers at HDR are using Fitwel as a tool to understand how to impact health within their company and the broader community.

“By becoming a Fitwel champion, HDR joins an outstanding group of companies leading the charge on transforming the building industry to prioritise human health.”