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Rising Demand for Healthy Buildings in Asia

The growth in green and healthy buildings is growing across Asia, and UL is helping teams across the region develop buildings access to local expertise to achieve their goals.

Green and healthy buildings across Asia

September 16, 2020

Just short of two years after launching in Asia, the Center for Active Design (CfAD), operator of Fitwel®, one of the world’s leading certification systems committed to building health for all, is seeing tremendous growth in the number of Fitwel certifications across the region. Whereas only 9% of construction teams in mainland China said that their building projects were green in a 2018 study from Dodge, 30% of respondents projected that at least 60% of their projects would be green by the year 2021. This rate of expansion over a short period is indicative of the exponentially growing demand for green and healthy buildings across Asia.

Recognizing the need for local resources to provide expertise and support, CfAD signed a strategic partnership with UL and enlisted the support of 30 other leading companies to establish the Asia Advisory Council. With a goal of promoting green and healthy buildings in China, the Asia Advisory Council has supported buildings across the entire region in the process of earning Fitwel certification.

UL’s global capabilities in testing, assessment, certification and advisory services offer customers access to local expertise and a wealth of green building expertise to streamline the certification process. In an attempt to advance green and healthy building practices, UL has entered into agreements with leading property management companies across Asia including CB Richard Ellis and Savills.

“We’re thrilled to see the momentum behind this movement. While each building has its own unique style and features to meet the needs of their particular occupants, each demonstrates an impressive commitment to people-centric indoor spaces that support health and well-being,” said Alberto Uggetti, vice president and general manager of UL’s Environment and Sustainability division.

A tremendous success, the Asia Advisory Council sees dozens of buildings choosing to pursue certification. Here’s an overview of some of the recent Fitwel certifications that UL has facilitated across Asia.

M Moser Building - Hong Kong

M Moser is a workplace design company at the forefront of health and wellness in the workplace. M Moser took a fresh look at their company’s work and culture when designing their new office space in Hong Kong. The design prioritizes their people and inspires the work they do. Earning the highest 3 Star Fitwel rating, in addition to RESET® and WELL Certifications, this impressive space demonstrates the company’s commitment to spaces that support health and wellness.

“We embrace the opportunity to develop workplaces that empower our teams and demonstrate the value of designing green and healthy buildings focused on human health and planetary stewardship. The Fitwel Certification verifies our people-centric approach, supporting a diverse workforce, driving collaboration and facilitating a healthy lifestyle,” shared Christine Bruckner, Ph.D., director at M Moser Associates.

This landmark space offers a gardening program that allows tenants to plant and grow their own produce and a café space designed to offer a space that is warm, welcoming and collaborative. Landscaped gardens offer outdoor areas where employees and guests can get some fresh air, physical activity and reduce stress. A lactation room gives new mothers a private, tranquil space. The overall diversity of the space caters to different people, disparate activities, and encourages collaboration and comfort.

Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Bangkok

The Stock Exchange of Thailand became the first in Asia to achieve a 3 Star Fitwel Rating – the highest rating within the Fitwel Standard – for its 28-story building. The SET building not only received the notable 3 Star Fitwel Rating, but also received the Best in Building Health® award for earning the highest score on the v2.1 Single Tenant Scorecard worldwide.

Among other impressive criteria, SET offers a restorative garden to promote healthy eating and fruits and vegetables are sold in a weekday farmer’s market. The building also monitors indoor air quality to ensure compliance with Fitwel and World Health Organization recommendations, which is a boon to occupants in a country that suffers from air pollution problems.

One East Place Shanghai

Brookfield Asset Management earned 3 Star Fitwel rating for its One East Place property in 

central Shanghai, receiving an impressive 127 out of 144 possible points. The space, offering Grade A, mixed-use commercial space, continues to advance its reputation and demonstrate its commitment to the health and well-being of its tenants by earning Fitwel’s highest level of certification.

A mixed-use project located in Shanghai’s South Bound area, One East Place offers on-site restorative gardens and a walking trail as well as convenient access to several public transportation subway stops and bus lines.

Constructed with tenant comfort and well-being in mind, the building offers some unique features including a night safety lighting system for safe entry and exit at night. In addition, an all-glass curtain wall allows almost all tenants to enjoy a window view with natural sunlight.

The office area is equipped with multifunctional spaces to encourage collaboration and social activity among staff and visitors. Ergonomic furnishings help avoid stress and injury and improve staff comfort and health.

“As a leading owner and operator of iconic mixed-use properties in the world’s gateway cities, Brookfield is committed to creating a healthier work environment for our tenants and guests. One East achieving the highest level of Fitwel certification is the culmination of a great deal of hard work from the Brookfield Properties team and is reflective of our vision to support the overall well-being of the community." said Stuart Mercier, Country Head for China, Brookfield Asset Management.

Lenovo Taipei

Lenovo DCG Taipei Design Center earned the 2 Star Fitwel Rating by leveraging a variety of strategic measures to improve the physical and mental health of workers. For example, to ensure that employees enjoy good IAQ, strict requirements were put in place for renovation projects to comply with IAQ management plans during construction, to procure healthy building materials and furniture, and to conduct third-party monitoring of indoor air.

The office also incorporates close-to-life designs into common areas and offers a variety of seating types to relieve stress while avoiding the negative health impacts of maintaining the same posture for long periods of time. Accessible stairwells with signage encourage stair climbing, while anti-slip flooring treatments enable employees to climb stairs safely. The building promotes healthy eating and water dispensers are available throughout the building to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

These buildings are just a few of the many new Fitwel certified spaces across Asia, providing an indication of the growing demand for occupant-centric spaces. In a survey conducted by commercial real estate services firm, CBRE, in Asia Pacific between May and April 2020, nearly half said that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a stronger preference for buildings with wellness and environmental features. As the movement grows, UL will be there to provide expertise, testing, assessment and other services that help streamline the certification process.


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