BOSTON — The new Boston office of WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services consultancy, has been certified as a Fitwel One Star workplace in recognition of a design that incorporates multiple health and wellness features for employees and visitors.
Fitwel is a building certification that supports healthier workplace environments to improve occupant health and productivity. The WSP office, located at 100 Summer Street, is Boston’s first Fitwel Commercial Interior v2.1-certified space, achieving 94 points over seven impact categories.
The new centralized downtown location unites two previously separate WSP offices in Boston, which allows for more streamlined public transit connections and easy access to multiple parks and outside areas. The office incorporates strategies to improve the health and wellness of employees and visitors, including active workstations, a centrally located staircase to promote physical activity, areas designed to accommodate nursing mothers, signage that highlights local amenities encouraging healthier lifestyles, and vending machines that meet Fitwel’s rigorous healthy food and beverage standards.
WSP provided multiple services that led to the certification of its own office, providing sustainability consulting, mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) engineering and commissioning services. WSP’s Built Ecology team, which provides high-performance design and sustainability consulting services, delivered sustainability strategies, consulting and certification management for this project. The sustainability scope included working with the firm’s MEP engineers and WSP leadership to set sustainability goals early on, and coordinating Fitwel and LEED certification management and documentation.
“The entire WSP team assigned to this project went well beyond typical best practices and strategies – they learned at the onset that we must consider all employee aspects of what the new office space should be, how team members will interact in it, accessibility for all, and aligning WSP health and safety culture,” said Mark Warren, WSP senior vice president and Boston managing director.
The final design reduced the office’s energy requirements and developed a high-end agile design that embodies the WSP brand, showcases its engineering and sustainability consulting services, and prioritizes health and safety.
The office reduced its lighting power density by 29 percent, and 95 percent of all equipment is Energy Star-rated and features occupancy controls for all lighting, daylight controls for perimeter lighting, and low-flow fixtures for a 30-percent indoor water use reduction.
“While energy efficiency did not count towards the Fitwel certification, energy efficiency is inherently part of the building’s design and is contributing to our expected LEEDv4 CI Silver certification,” said Maeve Donohue, sustainability consultant for the Boston office. “As part of WSP’s commitment to carbon neutrality, the 100 Summer Street office has carbon neutral operations that meet the LEED green power credit requirements.”
The WSP team spent nearly nine months on this project, beginning in March 2020 and submitting it for Fitwel review in September. The project was certified in December, joining five other WSP USA offices that previously achieved Fitwel certification.
“We were excited to have our own office as WSP’s first Boston client to pursue this certification and are looking forward to helping other offices within our portfolio achieve this certification,” said Virginia Leary, sustainability coordinator for the Boston office. “Through this process we developed a better understanding of the certification requirements. Our office now serves as an example of what is possible, which will help us provide an experienced methodology to WSP clients that wish to pursue Fitwel.”
Annual occupant satisfaction surveys will inform management on ways to improve commuter infrastructure, programming, building access, outdoor spaces, shared spaces, workplaces and food access, ensuring that the building continues to adapt to the needs of its occupants.
“What is unique and meaningful about this project is that we will also be able to experience the benefits of it every day in the office,” Leary added.
More Fitwel certification information can be found here: https://www.fitwel.org/certification/
About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world's leading engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 10,000 employees in 170 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com
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