Alternatives to Meet the Moment: Building Rating Systems & COVID-19
The advent of COVID-19 has changed expectations about the types of things that people want to have validated in their buildings, with landlords, building managers and end users considering what health and wellness strategies need to be adopted to create a healthy building environment.
For nearly 20 years, there’s been an almost exclusive focus on LEED as the building rating system of choice, with a primary focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. Over recent years, however, there’s been a recognition of the human health component of the built environment. This has resulted in a different class of building rating systems that take into account health and wellness factors. And those are gaining even more currency with the advent of COVID-19, which has seen people zero in on the issue of personal health and wellness like never before.
I recently sat down with my colleague Jenna Crow, a senior designer in Gresham Smith’s Urban + Corporate Design market, to talk about Fitwel and WELL—the two leading alternative building rating systems that emphasize healthy buildings. In this post, I share some highlights of that discussion, breaking down the two certification systems, their response to COVID-19, and how they each “play” with LEED.