City Hall recognized as leader in healthy buildings

The building is now the first public Fitwel certified building in the region.

Bellevue’s City Hall is now the first public building in Western Washington to be certified under the new Fitwel standard.

Fitwel was developed in recent years by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration, and is operated by the Center for Active Design. Given research that Americans spend more time at work than anywhere else, the organization’s goal is to encourage building design that will have a positive impact on health.

“We’re very proud City Hall qualified as a one-star Fitwel-certified public building,” said Emma Johnson, the city’s resource conservation manager in a press release. “Bellevue strives to create a healthy, inviting space for all visitors and staff, and this rating indicates we are on the right track to achieve a healthier and more sustainable City Hall.”

Fitwel’s evaluation is an evidence-based design standard that encourages positive impacts on employee and community health through good design and operations within buildings. City Hall racked up 92 out of a possible 144 points on the Fitwel scorecard. Factors include:,

  • Multimodal support for bikes and pedestrians;
  • Presence of on-site or nearby outdoor spaces, in support of physical and mental health;
  • Building systems that reduce indoor pollution
  • Defibrillators and emergency notification systems in the facility
  • Stairwell design that encourages use

The one-star rating is another example of the city’s leadership in creating healthy and efficient public facilities. City Hall has been recognized over the years for several design and performance achievements. In 2008, the facility was honored with the prestigious Energy Star award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for superior energy efficiency and now is in the top 1 percent of similar buildings. It has also received a merit award from the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects for aesthetics. Through a number of strategies, City Hall has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent since 2009.

Originally acquired from Qwest, the 350,000-square-foot building was transformed with extensive renovations from a utilitarian fortress built to house telecommunications equipment into a vital and attractive public resource; an innovative civic center noted for its aesthetics and functionality.

“Going through this process with Fitwel has been very insightful. Besides our positive one-star ranking, it also gives us strategies for the future on how we can continue to improve the experience at City Hall,” said Johnson.

More information on Bellevue’s public facilities can be found on the city’s website. Additional background on Fitwell certification is available at Fitwel.