The desire for health and wellness features in apartment buildings has increased among residents who want their home to reflect their health-focused lifestyle. To meet the growing demand, a number of developers have become early adopters of healthy building certifications, a move that's making them stand out in the marketplace.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently published a new report called The Business Case for Healthy Buildings: Insights from Early Adopters, which looks at the ways developers are designing spaces to promote and support healthy lifestyles. The report was produced through ULI’s Building Healthy Places initiative, a strategy that seeks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.

The report presents a number of case studies that show how developers are utilizing building certifications, such as the Center for Active Design's Fitwel certification and the International WELL Building Institute's WELL Building Standard. The standards focus on more than just how energy efficient a building is and incorporate other health benefits, such as access to outdoor space, walkability and location, physical activity, and exposure to natural light.

Featured in the report, the Hollywood Proper Residences in Hollywood, Calif., was the world’s first rental apartment building to earn a WELL certification. The building's developer, Kilroy Realty Corp., designed the 292,000-square-foot, 22-story structure with extensive glazing and large, floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light, intensive ventilation and fresh air, noise abatement, biophilic design, a smoke-free policy, and natural materials such as aged hardwood floors and marble, which have lower levels of volatile organic compounds than synthetics used for carpeting, counter surfaces, and other finishes. The building is located in an area with a Walk Score of 95.

The tower includes one-, two-, and three-bedroom units and penthouses with private pools. The building was 80% leased after six months with rent prices in the "top of market" range.

Sara Neff, Kilroy senior vice president for sustainability, says the WELL certification costs for the Hollywood were relatively modest. The fees were reduced because the project was a pilot, and Neff says Kilroy’s major WELL expense was $20,000 for additional filtration, both in the HVAC system and stand-alone, and air-quality testing.

While the certifications are still new, many developers across the country are getting on board. Next week, MFE will release an in-depth look at the first Fitwel-certified residential building, The Pearl, in Silver Spring, Md., with insights from developer The Tower Cos. about the certification process. Plus, AvalonBay Communities talked with us about how the developer is meeting demand for health and fitness at its properties while working toward Fitwel certification.

Stay tuned!