The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has added two new credits to its coveted LEED accreditation.
The Pandemic Planning credit will be awarded to cities or communities that develop a template for responding to a new health crisis.
And the Social Equity in Pandemic Planning will be awarded for a plan that treats everyone the same.
“The key to a better future lies in our ability to create places that support human and environmental health,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC.
“LEED-certified cities and communities are already moving in that direction and they understand that effective planning is critical to tracking performance and making improvements. The current pandemic is revealing new lessons every day and LEED’s Safety First pilot credits provide a roadmap for taking action and bringing a more integrated and inclusive approach to rebuilding a healthier economy.”
LEED – which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- is a green building certification program used worldwide. It has helped transform millions of square feet of building space into greener, more energy efficient spaces while giving qualifying owners and buildings access to a host of financial incentives and tax credits for their efforts.
The new credits are part of the USGBC’s Safety First economic recovery strategy introduced in May that centers around a reimagined vision that healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy.
The new LEED credits are available to LEED for Cities and Communities projects.
In the U.S., the coronavirus is expected to reduce GDP by nearly $8 trillion through 2030 putting tremendous strain on local economies, businesses and people.
The losses will be even more acute when coupled with mounting costs associated with climate events. Last year, just 14 weather and climate disasters cost the U.S. more than $45 billion.
LEED has long supported resilience planning and the new Safety First pilot credits expand those efforts to ensure local governments and development authorities are also planning for and considering public health threats and social equity challenges.
As projects pursue the new credits, USGBC will collect feedback and refine the guidance. These and other new LEED credits will be discussed during USGBC’s Healthy Economy Forum August 4-5.