Setting Industry Best Practices for Mitigating Viral Transmission


Fitwel Viral Response Module

The COVID-19 pandemic has made addressing occupant health within buildings more urgent than ever. In response, we created the Fitwel Viral Response Module (VRM) to set the global standard for safeguarding occupant health and wellness—offering the premier evidence-based, third-party certification to mitigate viral transmission in buildings.

Through innovative collaboration with global health experts and trusted industry advisors, we identified strategies that align with the best science available and meet the practical needs of the real estate community. 

Download VRM Materials

Start a Viral Response Certification Today

Developed in Partnership with Leading Experts

The Virus Response module— developed with input from health experts and industry leaders—sets the industry standard for optimizing buildings in response to the broad health impacts of infectious respiratory diseases in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Industry Advisors & Early Adopter Companies

Academic Advisors
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Bon Ku, MD, Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Brett C. Singer, Indoor Environment Lead and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • David A. Turcotte, ScD, Research Professor, Director, Principal Investigator, The New England Consortium, UMass Lowell
  • Ed Nardell, MD, Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Edith Parker, Dean and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Elizabeth Garland, MD, MS, Professor, Environmental Medicine & Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jeff Hou, PhD, ASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington, College of Built Environments
  • Lidia Morawska, PhD, Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piers MacNaughton, MD, MPH, Affiliate Professor, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
  • Rachel Lynn Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richard Vincent, MS, BS Arch, FIES, LEED AP, Administrative Manager, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Setha Low, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Psychology and Director of the Public Space Research Group, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Terry T-K Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Director, Center for Systems and Community Design, Co-Director, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York

Fitwel’s Academic Advisors reflect a diverse array of health expertise and represent world-renowned institutions.

Four Reasons to Choose the Fitwel Viral Response Module

  1. Incorporating the best science available. Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a team of global academic leaders, we applied rigorous, peer-reviewed research to establish the VRM’s minimum requirements and create a multi-faceted approach to enhance indoor environments, encourage behavioral change and build occupant trust. As a result, the VRM sets the highest standards for protecting health and safety.

  2. Scalable and cost-effective. An innovative two-step certification process allows companies to:

    • First, adopt rigorous policies and practices aligned with the best available scientific evidence in order to become Viral Response Certified at the entity/enterprise level. ($500 to register; $4,500 annual certification fee)

    • Then, rapidly and cost-effectively implement those policies to obtain Viral Response Approval for individual buildings. ($200 annual fee per asset)

  3. Turnkey policy solutions. The Viral Response Module provides detailed implementation guidance and policy templates, allowing companies to readily adopt policies that meet Fitwel’s best practice standards.

  4. Long-term relevance. The VRM’s data-driven strategies support a more resilient portfolio prepared for future contagious disease outbreaks. Implementing the VRM can help safeguard building occupants from pathogens ranging from a novel coronavirus, to viruses like influenza A and B, which cause seasonal flu.

Who should use the Viral Response Module? The module has been designed for every major asset class:

Academic | Hospitality | Hotels | Industrial | Multifamily Residential | Retail | Senior Housing | Hospitality | Workplace

Download VRM Materials

USING THE VIRAL RESPONSE MODULE

The Viral Response module establishes a unique, multi-step process to help companies adopt rigorous viral mitigation policies and practices aligned with the best available evidence to date and apply them at scale. It also serves as a natural entry point for advancing full project certification using a Fitwel Building Scorecard.


Step 1

Viral Response Certification

(Entity-wide policies and practices)

Viral Response Certification applies to a user-defined “entity,” which encompasses any collection of assets that have consistent policies and practices—from a single building, to a regional portfolio, to an entire company. A company may choose to achieve separate certifications for multiple entities if internal policies and practices differ by geography, asset type, or another factor.

One-time Registration Fee: $500

Annual Certification Fee: $4,500

As little as 6 weeks from submission


Step 2

Viral Response Approval (Asset-level)

Overview

Once Viral Response Certification is achieved, companies can demonstrate application across specific assets. In order to receive Viral Response Approval, an asset must fully align with all specified policies and practices achieved in the relevant entity’s Viral Response Certification.

Cost

$200 per asset

Users pre-paying for 10+ assets are eligible for a 10% discount.

Timeline

2 weeks from asset submission


Step 3

Fitwel Building Certification

(Asset-level)

Overview

Assets receiving Viral Response Approval will be primed for implementing a Building Scorecard to achieve Fitwel Certification. The Fitwel Portal will seamlessly align and pre-populate Viral Response documentation within the selected Building Scorecard, creating a streamlined and efficient process for assets looking to achieve dual certifications.

Cost

Building Certification fees are dependent on project size. Visit fitwel.org/certification for details.

Timeline

12-16 weeks from submission

Note: All prices are in US Dollars. Viral Response certification is valid for 12 months. Champion or Affiliate discounts do not apply.

Module Strategies and Levels of Recognition

Viral Response Strategies

The Fitwel Viral Response module covers three key topic areas for mitigating viral transmission: Enhance Indoor Environments, Encourage Behavioral Change, and Build Occupant Trust.

Module strategies include minimum requirements that are necessary to achieve an effective viral response and based on scientific evidence that reflects the need for multi-faceted approaches as well as implementation rigor in order to effectively mitigate contagious disease spread. In addition to minimum requirements, the module introduces dependent strategies, which can expand the health impacts of an achieved parent strategy.

Download The Viral Response Worksheet

Viral Response Recognition

The Fitwel Viral Response module strategies are weighted according to their strength of evidence and level of health impact, using a 100% scale. A module score of 70%-89% will be recognized as “Fitwel Viral Response Certified.”

A score of 90% and above will be recognized as “Fitwel Viral Response Certified with Distinction."

Start a Viral Response Certification

How It Works

The Fitwel VRM is designed for rapid roll-out. Enterprise-level Viral Response Certification can be achieved in as little as six weeks. Upon certification, the turnaround for asset-level Viral Response Approval is two weeks. 

Save these dates! If you are planning to pursue Fitwel VRM certification in 2021, be sure to make note of this year's important certification deadlines. Click here for details.

Viral Reponse Certification
(Entity-wide policies and practices)
Viral Response Approval
(Asset Level)
Phase 1:
Fitwel completes an initial review
Phase 2:
User responds to Fitwel's initial review
Phase 3:
Fitwel completes a final review and certification
Phase 4:
Fitwel completes a single review and approval
2 WEEKS2 WEEKS2 WEEKS2 WEEKS
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