Workplace paths

Proven paths to healthier workplaces

Written by: George Pond

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average workday was 7.9 hours. Now, as many Americans return to office and commercial buildings, human health in those environments has become more important than ever!

Varied certification and accreditation programs respond to today’s public health needs. These programs provide standards that can benefit every occupant in every building.

WELL Certification

WEEL Building Institute

WELL certification, created in 2013, focuses on  working conditions that protect the environment and human health. A science-based standard, WELL requires third-party verification. It addresses workplace sustainability from several perspectives, all focused on the employee.

As of 2021, the count of WELL projects in 98 countries reached 32,736, certifying an astonishing 3.11 billion square feet.

WELL focuses on seven factors, or Concepts, by measuring the building attributes that have greatest potential impact on occupant health:

  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Nourishment
  • Fitness
  • Light
  • Comfort
  • Mind

Once the building is constructed and occupied, an assessor evaluates it. Registrants have up to 5 years to complete the certification. To maintain the certification, WELL must be recertified every 3 years.

Fitwel Certification

Fitwel Logo

Over 2,700 projects in more than 40 countries have registered with Fitwel. Fitwel scorecards are tailored to specific types of new buildings, existing buildings, or sites:

  • Multi-tenant base building
  • Multi-tenant whole building
  • Single-tenant building
  • Commercial interior space
  • Multi-family residential
  • Retail
  • Community and commercial sites

Fitwel Certification is valid for three years, with recentification available any time after that.

GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s GBAC STAR facility accreditation program is a comprehensive outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation which has been earned at over 1,900 facilities in more than 80 countries.

As conference and sports venues re-open, many are better equipped than ever to respond to public health challenges. The best practices at those facilities promote public health and optimize venue staff safety. That can earn GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation as 20 elements of disinfection, cleaning, and infectious disease spread prevention are documented and achieved.

ecoPreserve has assisted with GBAC STAR Accreditation at facilities across the southeast:

  • LAKELAND, FLORIDA
    • R.P. Funding Center
  • ORLANDO, FLORIDA
    • Orange County Convention Center
    • Amway Center
    • Camping World Stadium
  • TAMPA, FLORIDA
    • Tampa Convention Center
  • HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS
    • Hot Springs Convention Center
  • DALLAS, TEXAS
    • Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center
LEED Certification

In 1998, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) initiated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.  It provides a framework for green buildings that are healthy and cost-saving.

LEED is a globally-recognized achievement in sustainability. Buildings earning Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification promote workplace health while conserving utilities and better managing materials waste.

Buildings totaling over 24 billion square feet have earned LEED certification.

For over 12 years, experienced and certified ecoPreserve consultants have helped organizations achieve greater sustainability through USGBC LEED, WELL, Fitwel, GBAC STAR, and several other accreditation programs.

Let us know how ecoPreserve can help your organization on its journey to sustainability and resiliency!

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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.