Friday, January 23, 2015

New Social Equity LEED Credits

The goal of USGBC's LEED rating system is not only to construct energy efficient, environmentally-friendly buildings but to enhance the lives of all people in the buildings that receive LEED certification. In order to fulfill this goal, the USGBC has released new LEED credits that address social equity from the three perspectives of those impacted by the building including: the buildings construction workers, designers, engineers, as well as other team managers; the surrounding community; and the buildings materials supply chain. The new credit system is part of the LEED Pilot Credit Library which allows the USGBC to test and refine credits before they're brought into the rating system.

With the push for ongoing environmental justice, the USGBC added a new guiding principle to its 2013-2015 strategic plan known as Fostering Social Equity. The intention of the new principle is to create a greener economy, community, and quality of life.

The new LEED social equity credits consist of:
  • Social Equity within the Project Team: This credit encourages a project's owners, financiers, architects, engineers, and contractors to incorporate social equity into their daily activities.
  • Social Equity within the Community: This credit encourages a project team to address identified needs and disparities in the community surrounding the project.
  • Social Equity within the Supply Chain: This credit encourages social equity for those involved in the production of materials and products for our buildings, from raw materials extraction through final assembly.
The piloting of the new social equity credits will initially be available for construction projects seeking LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating system. To further the social equity credits, the BD+C will be used to see how they can be improved and amended to fit with different building types and rating systems. In addition, the USGBC has consulted with international green building councils and LEED professionals to further develop the initiative for social equity. The continued push for green building and energy efficient design is being embraced in many parts of the construction industry and communities impacted by new buildings.

For more information regarding the social equity initiatives, visit the USGBC website

Interested in becoming LEED accredited? Be sure to check out Green Education Services for a full line-up of courses to help prepare you for the LEED Exam.