Feature Short

Fitwel: Science That Works

Users say it’s like Energy Star for active design. CDC hopes its reach will be much, much bigger.

March 8, 2017

It looks modest enough: a handy app that facility managers download onto an iPad. Starting at the street, they perform a walkthrough of the building and report on how their building promotes wellness and productivity. The app spits out a score and an automated gap analysis suggesting what the project could do to score higher and have a larger impact on health.

Users never need to read the 3,000+ studies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed in order to create the system. They never have to agonize over the meta-studies that led to the program’s elaborate system of weightings. And they certainly don’t see what may be the most surprising part of all: that CDC wants this new certification system to take over the world—and make us all healthier, happier, and more productive.