Unico Properties Achieve Fitwel® (VRM) Certification
Committed to the health and safety of its assets, Unico Properties LLC has secured Fitwel® Viral Response Module (VRM) approval at the entity level and at the asset level, for implementing its VRM policies across more than nine million square feet of its 18-million-square-foot commercial office portfolio across the U.S., including in Denver.
Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system committed to building health for all. Originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. General Services Administration, Fitwel is a rigorous, third-party healthy building certification that sets the industry standard for evidence-based strategies to promote positive health outcomes for building occupants and communities.
Unico is among the first to secure asset-level approval at scale, with 30 of its buildings in six of its markets having implemented the company’s viral response policies. While VRM was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its strategies are not exclusive to COVID-19. Its methods and practices can help minimize the spread of other infectious respiratory diseases, including influenza and Legionnaires’ disease—an important move to make companies feel better about returning to the office.
“Long before the onset of the global pandemic, we were committed to curating environments that foster the well-being of people and communities, and for almost 70 years, we have created places where people want to be,” said Brian Pearce, Unico Properties executive vice president, Real Estate Services. “Pursuing, and ultimately achieving, the distinguished Fitwel VRM certification ensures that our portfolio is aligned with the latest research on viral mitigation and that we are empowered to implement effective strategies to ensure the healthiest possible work environment for our tenants, employees and visitors.”
The buildings in Denver that are certified include:
- 1875 Lawrence St.
- 2nd & Josephine – 220 Josephine St.
- Colorado Square – 2 N Nevada Ave
- DC Building – 518 17th St.
- Elephant Corral – 1401 Wazee Street
- Harlequin Plaza – 7600 E Orchard Rd
- Platte Portfolio: Circa Building – 1615 Platte St.
- Platte Portfolio: Root Building – 2401 W 15th St.
- Platte Portfolio: Zang Building – 1553 Platte Street
“Investing in Fitwel VRM certification at the entity level, and approval at the asset level offers yet another layer of trust for our tenants—trust in a nationally-recognized, third-party certification that aligns with our efforts to prioritize health and safety in the workplace,” said Russ Davis, Unico Properties vice president, Real Estate Services. “The VRM’s data-driven strategies to reduce viral transmission, maximize trust and create healthy environments bolster our ability to deliver a first-class tenant experience to our buildings.”
Fitwel VRM certification has three primary objectives: to enhance the indoor environment, encourage behavior change and build occupant trust. Some of the strategies, plans and policies implemented in Unico’s buildings include:
- Enhanced Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Policy and Enhanced IAQ Testing & Monitoring Protocols – These policies and practices outline strategies to achieve enhanced indoor air quality.
- Guidelines for Surface Hygiene Stations, Hand Hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment – These standards ensure buildings have a clear strategy for ensuring occupants have what they need to reduce disease transmission.
- Health Promotional Signage and Communication Plans – These plans strengthen pandemic response and ensure awareness of protocols, minimizing uncertainty and supporting sustained occupant trust.
“Unico Properties has made significant progress in certifying its viral response policies and rapidly implementing them across more than half of its 18 million-square-foot commercial office portfolio – this achievement underscores the company’s commitment to ensure its portfolio is optimized for health and wellness,” said Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design, which establishes and maintains the Fitwel standard, including its Viral Response Module. “By adopting the VRM’s evidence-based strategies at scale, Unico Properties is proactively creating healthier, safer spaces for building occupants and employees that mitigate the risk of viral transmission.”