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U.S. Green Building Council Launches Global Economic Recovery Strategy

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USGBC outlines path for how healthy places and LEED will support recovery efforts as businesses, governments and communities prepare for a post-pandemic world

Washington, D.C. – (May 13, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a new strategy, Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy, intended to leverage LEED and the community implementing the rating system to support buildings and communities in a post-pandemic world. The strategy is guided by the idea that prioritizing the health of people, communities and the planet is the fastest way to rebuild a healthier, more sustainable economy. A series of actions are underway, including launching emergency guidance and upgrades to the LEED green building program to ensure that it reflects the realities that buildings, and more importantly, the people inside them, will face in the near future.

For more than a quarter century, USGBC has defined global best practices for designing, constructing and operating sustainable buildings and spaces through LEED. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system and promotes the use of strategies that reduce environmental impact, enhance human health and support economic development.

Under the new Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy strategy, USGBC will update current LEED strategies in LEED v4.1 that support indoor environmental quality, cleaning, occupant comfort, operations, better materials and risk management, while finding opportunities to introduce new approaches given the current public health crisis. USGBC will also be taking the following actions:

Introduce new LEED strategies: In the next two weeks, LEED will launch new pilot credits to support social distancing, nontoxic surface cleaning, air quality and infection monitoring.
 
Form CEO Advisory Councils: USGBC will form Regional CEO Advisory Councils to advise and support USGBC’s CEO on how the organization, its programs and the building and construction industries can prioritize sustainability in a post-pandemic world.
 
Accelerate USGBC Equity: Announced at Greenbuild Atlanta in 2019, USGBC will accelerate the implementation of its USGBC Equity program to better address the social, health and economic disparities within communities. A listening event is scheduled for May 28-29 to kick start this effort.
 
Call for ideas: USGBC will launch a call for ideas next week to hear perspectives from the broader market on how LEED and healthy spaces can evolve given the current public health crisis.
 
Adapted review process: GBCI, the certifying body for LEED and other green business certification programs, will amend its LEED review process immediately to incorporate the lessons learned over the last two months from COVID-19, to ensure projects that are currently undergoing LEED certification can dynamically transition and make their spaces healthier. Guidance will be published this week.
 
Guidance reports: USGBC will publish a series of best practice guidance reports to help project teams assist their occupants as they reenter their spaces.
USGBC is a leader in convening influential voices to help address some of today’s toughest societal challenges. In June, the organization will hold a virtual event to hear from global stakeholders on how sustainable practices can help transform new and existing spaces to be healthier and have a positive impact on people and the economy.

PlantPROCORE While COVID-19 has changed the landscape forever, a strong global foundation for sustainability will help businesses and governments prepare to recalibrate and recover from this vulnerable moment. USGBC will rapidly adapt and act to prioritize all efforts to help restore the global economy and realize the vision that healthy people in healthy places is the fastest way to build a healthy economy. Refining LEED strategies and providing guidance that clearly communicates the economic, health, and environmental benefits of sustainable buildings, communities and cities to people will be a priority.

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, an international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org and connect on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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