HDR has adopted Fitwel, a global building certification system that promotes health, and has certified its first office in Arlington, Va. 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 in the Fitwel system. As a Fitwel Champion, HDR has committed to obtaining Fitwel certifications for a minimum of six of its offices.  HDR will pursue Fitwel 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 within buildings. It was developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration, and is operated by the Center for Active Design (CfAD).

“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 is 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.  

“HDR’s commitment to optimizing spaces in the support of employee health speaks to their industry leadership. We are delighted that designers at HDR are using Fitwel as a tool to understand how to impact health within their company and the broader community,” said Reena Agarwal, chief operating officer at CfAD. “By becoming a Fitwel Champion, HDR joins an outstanding group of companies leading the charge on transforming the building industry to prioritize human health.”