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USGBC Unveils Safety-Related Pilot Credits

Friday, June 12, 2020

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Green Building Council released, as promised, four new Safety First Pilot Credits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The credits aim to outline sustainable best practices to align public health with industry guidelines as buildings reopen in the midst of the health crisis.

In addition to these credits, Arc—a USGBC affiliate—has launched a set of tools that professionals can use to analyze their buildings.

The Credits

“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 and 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.”

USGBC

Earlier this week, the U.S. Green Building Council released, as promised, four new Safety First Pilot Credits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The credits were first announced last month, when the USGBC announced its economic recovery strategy, and are available to all LEED 2009, LEED v4 and LEED v4.1 projects.

The credits include:

  • Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space credit - requires facilities to create a policy and implement procedures that follow green cleaning best practices that support a healthy indoor environment and worker safety. The credit also requires procedures and training for cleaning personnel, occupant education and other services that are within a management team’s control.
  • Safety First: Re-Enter Your Workspace credit - a tool to assess and plan for re-entry, as well as measure progress once a space is occupied. It identifies sustainable requirements in building operations and human behavior that take precautions against the spread of COVID-19 and aligns with the American Institute of Architects’ Re-occupancy Assessment Tool.
  • Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning credit - helps building teams reduce the risk that occupants are exposed to degraded water quality and integrates recommendations from industry organizations and experts, including the U.S. EPA and CDC and requires buildings to develop and implement a water management plan, coordinate with local water and public health authorities, communicate water system activities and associated risks to building occupants and take steps to address water quality from the community supply, as well as the building.
  • Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality During COVID-19 credit - builds on existing indoor air quality requirements and credits in LEED. Building teams should ensure indoor air quality systems are operating as designed and determine temporary adjustments to ventilation that may minimize the spread of COVID-19 through the air. The guidance also encourages monitoring and evaluating indoor air quality on an ongoing basis.

The USGBC noted that it will refine its recommendations and is open to feedback on the new credits. In addition, the organization pointed to its affiliation with Arc and its Arc Re-Entry tool set.

Arc is a technology platform that aims to allow teams to oversee the sustainability of buildings and collect data.

“Facility managers can use Arc Re-Entry to add data and generate a performance score for their building or portfolio that provides a comparable measure of the breadth and documentation of facility management policies, occupant experience and measured indoor air quality,” the USGBC said in a statement.

“Arc Re-Entry allows facility managers to evaluate the relationship between expectations for policies and procedures and occupants experience. It also helps identify opportunities to implement LEED’s Safety First Credits and the WELL Health-Safety Rating.”

Economic Plan

The new safety credits were first announced last month, when the USGBC unveiled its “Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy” plan, which aims to “leverage LEED and the community implementing the rating system to support buildings and communities in a post-pandemic world.”

The council will also be taking the following actions:

  • 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.
  • Call for ideas: USGBC will launch a call for ideas this week to hear perspectives from the broader market on how LEED and healthy spaces can evolve given the current public health crisis.
  • Adapt 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.
  • Publish guidance reports: USGBC will publish a series of best practice guidance reports to help project teams assist their occupants as they reenter their spaces.

“We know that LEED is the key to a prosperous future,” said Ramanujam. “Sustainability is central to creating jobs, saving energy and saving money, all of which are part of the backbone of a strong economy. But strong economies must also support the people who make them run. Going forward, we will prioritize our efforts to build trust in people that their buildings and spaces are healthy and positively impacting their communities.”

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latin America; North America; Regulations; Safety; United States Green Building Council (USGBC); Z-Continents

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