WELL & Fitwel

Photo: dllu. License: CC BY-SA 4.0.


The WELL Building Standard, from the International Well Buildings Institute (IWBI), is closely modeled on LEED but is focused exclusively on occupant health (which is just one of numerous factors in LEED). As with LEED, each category includes prerequisites (or “preconditions”) and credits (“optimizations”). WELL buildings can be certified to three levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Officially launched in 2014, WELL is buoyed by the industry’s strong interest in health, but the high cost of WELL relative to LEED and other programs has been an obstacle for many projects.

Fitwel is different. There are no prerequisites, only optional credits. To achieve the lowest level of certification (one star out of three), projects need to achieve 90 points out of 144 possible. Although no specific criteria are required for certification, the program is based on an elaborate weighting system that incentivizes the highest-impact criteria based on peer-reviewed science. The weightings are based on the quality and size of the studies reviewed, the extent to which the design feature could impact public health, and whether the link between the design feature and the outcome has been convincingly established.