The Fitwel Viral Response module, launched this past September, by the Center for Active Design, provides annual, third-party certification of policies and practices to mitigate the spread of contagious diseases within buildings. Fitwel is a rating system on a mission of building health for all ® and its Viral Response module is designed to address the global spread of COVID-19.


COVID protocols demand dramatic shifts in the way spaces around the world are managed and organized to keep people safe while they live, work, study, and play. The Fitwel Viral Response module is informed by notable industry leaders and academic advisors and is organized in chapters chapter designed to contribute to an ever-evolving conversation. Fitwel Viral Response covers topics including:

  • Leveraging Building to Migrate Viral Transmission is an overview of the basics of viral transmission and strategies to mitigate transmission.

  • Building Trust in the Workplace provides guidance for cultivating employee and tenant trust and enhancing perceptions of safety once office buildings are ready to reopen.

  • Addressing Mental Health Within Residential Settings focuses on the importance of considering mental health during crises, and how the residential environment can be optimized to promote feelings of wellbeing.

  • Optimizing Density for People focuses on the unique benefits of density, concentrating on decreasing energy use and optimizing outdoor spaces.

  • Addressing Health Disparities in the Built Environment explores the interconnected relationships between COVID-19, the social determinants of health, and chronic disease.


Fitwel is designed to work on a variety of building and space types including individual spaces or assets, residential and commercial.  What the research behind Fitwel tells is clear: “building trust with tenants and employees … is so important right now during these uncertain times.”


Fitwel’s Viral Response module requires that applicants follow a set of baseline strategies that are necessary to reduce the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19, influenza, and legionnaires’ disease. These minimum requirements cover indoor environments, behavioral change, building occupant trust, in addition to specifying the chemicals needed in cleaning products. Fitwel and its advisors intend to update the module annually in accordance with the evolving science.


Fitwel’s two-step certification process enables companies the flexibility to establish and implement viral response policies at scale. The policies established may cover any portfolio, selection of assets or individual tenant spaces that have consistent operational practices, then submit to have these policies certified by CfAD in a six-week, double-blind review process. Once certification is achieved, CfAD recognizes this achievement with a plaque that companies can display to convey to occupants that their spaces are optimized for viral mitigation, providing confidence to tenants and employees that continuous practices have been put in place to keep them safe.


Let Emerald’s experts be part of your team:  we can help you achieve the certifications you need to gain trust with tenants and employees. 

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