USBGC Outlines New Credits in Response to COVID-19

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a leader in defining healthy, sustainable buildings and spaces for more than a quarter century, has released new LEED guidance outlining sustainable best practices that align with public health and industry guidelines. The new Safety First LEED credits address four critical areas:

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting – Products, protocols and facility team education and safety
  • Indoor Air Quality – Adjustments to ventilation and air filtration
  • Water Systems – Reducing the risk of degraded water quality due to closures
  • Re-occupancy – Encouraging operations and human behavior changes in spaces

The release of the credits is part of USGBC’s Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy recovery plan released last month. USGBC’s LEED green building program has been a global standard for defining healthy, sustainable buildings and now its adapting for this new COVID-19 era. The credits encourage transparency around reopening efforts with an emphasis on measuring progress and impact to help companies communicate their efforts. USGBC is looking for feedback on the credits and will continue to refine recommendations as new information about the virus becomes available. A call for proposals is also open to help further inform the development of LEED.

“These new credits are a first step in helping the building and construction industry demonstrate its commitment to sustainable strategies as part of building a healthier, more resilient future,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO of USGBC. “Supporting environmental and occupant health is a critical part of supporting community health and, as we look ahead, we know LEED and the USGBC community will play a role in delivering solutions that lay a better foundation for our economic and environmental well-being.”

With much of the country entering into an initial reopening phase, businesses and government must rebuild people’s trust and demonstrate how the estimated 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. are focused on health and committed to positively impacting communities moving forward. Third party verification systems like LEED provide guidance on best practices and encourage transparency. USGBC is focused on sharing its recommendations with all projects, regardless of whether they are pursuing LEED certification, in an effort to continue to support economic recovery while also laying the foundation for society to be more sustainable, healthy and equitable.


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