As we continue to shine the spotlight on the very finest examples of workspace design across the globe, it is becoming ever more apparent that the best workplace design doesn’t just look great, nor is its sole purpose to enable collaboration or inspire creativity. It is also environmentally sustainable, and works to enhance the wellbeing of the people within its walls and under its roof.
In another example of world-class design that seeks to encapsulate these aims, Integral Group — a global network of design professionals — has successfully achieved the first Fitwel Certified Workplace in Europe at its London offices. Fitwel is a third-party certification system that recognises those organisations that seek to enhance health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.
With wellness and sustainability becoming a key focus of workspace design, Integral Group may well be the first of many organisations within the UK claiming these prestigious honours.
PRESS RELEASE — London, UK March 31, 2017:
Integral Group Leads the Way with the First Fitwel Certified Workplace in Europe
Integral Group Receives 2-Star Fitwel Rating for its London, UK Office
Integral Group has certified their London, UK office under Fitwel, becoming the first Fitwel certified workplace outside of North America. Fitwel is a third-party certification system designed to help organizations enhance health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.
Integral Group became an official Fitwel Champion only six weeks ago, and already has a dozen Fitwel Ambassadors trained on the evidence-based connection between design and health. With this capability in place they were able to quickly integrate many Fitwel inspired strategies within the London office to achieve a “2-Star” Fitwel rating.
This achievement is the first step in fulfilling Integral Group’s commitment as a Fitwel Champion to certify four offices across the USA, UK and Canada during 2017.
Joanna Frank, Executive Director for the Center for Active Design (CfAD) presented Integral Group’s Fitwel team with a “2-Star” Fitwel Certificate earlier today for their London office. The office scored 118 points out of a maximum possible 144.
“Today is an important milestone for Fitwel and Integral Group,” remarked Joanna Frank. “There is a growing recognition that where we live and work has a dramatic impact on our health. By implementing Fitwel’s evidence-based strategies, Integral is leading the transformation of workplaces and demonstrating that Fitwel is an achievable goal for all.
“Integral can be proud of their 2-Star Fitwel rating, a significant achievement that demonstrates a holistic approach to health.”
Integral Group’s London office is home to Elementa Consulting, a member of Integral Group. In 2016 Elementa searched for a new space to house its growing team of MEP engineers and sustainability consultants, which resulted in a move to 80 Cheapside – an eight-story, multi-tenanted building in the heart of London’s historic financial district.
True to its green credentials and belief that every Integral Group office should be a ‘Living Lab’, the decision was made to retain, reuse and repurpose 100% of the existing furniture, flooring and partitions and embark upon a wellness-oriented upgrade fit for a creative engineering consultancy firm.
Having moved into the new space, London-based Principal Edward Garrod, accepted the challenge to maximize health and happiness for staff with a budget of just £4,500.
After canvassing staff for ideas and feedback, the Integral Health team led by Garrod set about improving daylight and views by stripping away privacy film from windows, upgrading break room facilities, introducing active workstations, and installing full height panoramas of the Bay Area, Vancouver and views of forests, a hydroponic salad system and air quality monitoring systems. Meeting rooms were transformed into collaborative spaces where project teams could draw on the walls, and each space was named after a tree native to an Integral Group region.
The public release of Fitwel at the end of 2016 prompted Garrod to become the first Fitwel Ambassador outside of North America. After Integral Group became a Fitwel Champion in early 2017, Garrod challenged his team to a new and compelling goal – a sprint to submit for a Fitwel rating within just six weeks.
Many Fitwel inspired measures were effortlessly implemented at little to no cost – including reorganizing desk layouts to maximize daylight and views, and encouraging creation of a staff yoga club with out-of-hours access to a multi-functional room. It also required cooperation from the building’s owners, operators and fellow tenants.
Having achieved their six-week certification goal, Garrod said: “Fitwel’s platform is designed to make enhancing health and wellbeing accessible to every workspace. Uploading our evidence was quick and painless, and the third-party review by Center for Active Design was focused and fast. Based on our experience we’re already working with clients across the UK to apply Fitwel strategies to their own offices.”
Garrod is clear that achieving a Fitwel rating doesn’t mean that Integral Group’s work in London is done. He continues, “There are Fitwel strategies that we know we can achieve with more time, and new avenues that will be opened up by future upgrades to the building. By integrating ongoing Fitwel assessments as part of our management systems, we’re committing to review the progress and make continual improvements in coming years. We’re now more than a Living Lab – we’re a Healthy Living Lab.”
Fitwel is a cost-effective, high impact building certification system that optimizes building occupant health and productivity through targeted improvements to workplace design and operational policies. Fitwel has a vision for a healthier future where every building is enhanced to support the wellbeing of its occupants and surrounding communities. Fitwel’s development was led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration. The Center for Active Design is the operator of Fitwel, leading its widespread adoption and future development. Learn more at fitwel.org and follow Fitwel on Twitter @fitwel.
About Integral Group
Integral Group is a global firm of design professionals collaborating under a single deep green engineering umbrella. The organization provides a full range of building system design, energy analysis, and sustainability services with a staff widely regarded as innovative leaders in their fields. Integral has 400 members located in offices throughout North America and the UK. We are proud to distinguish ourselves from our competitors with our expertise and focus on highly energy efficient and sustainable design projects. Integral Group designs have been part of over 60 Net Zero projects, three of which are certified, 36 completed LEED Platinum Certified projects, with more than 80 LEED-registered projects, and 8 Living Building Challenge projects currently in design.