Air pollution presents an enormous health risk to people around the world. A 2018 report from the World Health Organization reveals that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Both outdoor and indoor air pollution are responsible for about 7 million deaths globally per year; in the Western Pacific Region alone, around 2.2 million people die each year. In Vietnam, around 60,000 deaths each year are air pollution-related. (Source: World Health Organization, Air Pollution).

In an effort to generate awareness and solutions for healthier buildings in Vietnam, on December 5, UL and VGBC co-hosted a Healthy Buildings event in Ho Chi Minh City. Attendees including leaders in design and construction, building owners and developers as well as other healthy industry players in attendance. This thought leadership gathering provided an opportunity to share the latest findings and global trends on indoor air quality (IAQ) and other healthy building criteria and the financial and productivity benefits of commercial spaces that support occupant health. The event included opening remarks from Ms. Phan Thu Hang, Chairman of Vietnam Green Building Council and a best practices presentation from Mr. Josh Jacobs, Director of Environmental Codes & Standards for UL. A panel of experts in indoor air quality debated key metrics for evaluating IAQ and strategies for improving tenant health and wellbeing.

This program in Vietnam is just one of many events UL is involved in to engage regions in Asia Pacific to encourage healthier buildings. UL and CBRE recently announced a strategic cooperation to jointly promote healthy buildings in China. One program that is critical to advancing occupant health and wellness is the Fitwel Certification. The leading global healthy building certification system, Fitwel is dedicated to improving the health and sustainability of people, buildings and communities. The Fitwel Healthy Building Certification System provides a wide range of tools for commercial real estate, residential properties and communities to pursue and achieve healthier buildings.

With more than 2,700 global users, more than 340 buildings certified or in progress, and 732,000 people impacted, the Fitwel Certification program is expanding quickly to meet the growing demand for health indoor spaces. This rigorous science-based program uses cross-functional approach to establishing criteria that support healthy buildings. The Fitwell program is a collaborative effort driven by stakeholders in public health, design, development, research and science.

Suitable for individual buildings, remodeling projects or entire real estate portfolios, Fitwel Certification offers stakeholders an opportunity to pursue healthy buildings at scale. The program gives both commercial and residential building owners and managers an opportunity to differentiate their properties, ensures occupants that their health is prioritized, and helps communities establish an overall healthier indoor spaces.