USGBC provides guidance and pilot credits related to COVID-19 concerns

Smiling businessman working at computer looking over shoulderThe U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that LEED will play a role in confronting risk in the post-coronavirus pandemic era.

In a published letter from Mahesh Ramanujam, President & CEO of USGBC, he announced that the “second generation at USGBC will focus on our relevant and reimagined vision: healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy.” He acknowledged that “unlike any other moment in the history of this organization, this crisis will require us to fully reimagine the spaces where we live, learn, work and play.”

In outlining a series of actions that the organization would undertake “on an emergency basis, [(USGBC] will promptly release LEED pilot credits to support social distancing, nontoxic surface cleaning, air quality and infection monitoring.” USGBC’s Pilot Credit Library introduces new credits to the LEED rating systems. The process allows projects to test more innovative credits that have not been through the standards-setting drafting and balloting process.

The two pilot credits related to planning and preventing worker exposure to COVID-19 can be found below. Both pilot credits require submittals with follow-up survey results.

LEED BD+C: New Construction v4.1—Safety First: Re-Enter Your Workspace

This is a special pilot credit intended “to promote best practice requirements in operations and human behavior to take precautions against the spread of COVID 19.” It references the AIA’s Re-occupancy Assessment Tool V1.0 in creating a re-occupancy assessment and requirements for an operations plan. The requirements include keeping a daily journal with building management and occupants that would be transparent for submission.

LEED BD+C: New Construction v4.1—Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space

This is a special pilot credit intended “to provide effective cleaning and disinfecting relative to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), during re-occupancy and during operations while minimizing adverse health impacts on cleaning personnel, building occupants and visitors, and the environment.” The credit requires creating policies and practices that focus on green cleaning and now must meet the COVID-19 guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This includes the procurement of cleaning and disinfecting products, procedures and training for cleaning personnel, occupant education, and services that are within the project and site management’s control.

Under the new “Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy” strategy, USGBC will update current strategies in LEED v4.1 that support indoor environmental quality, cleaning, occupant comfort, and operations as well as better materials and risk management. In trying to find opportunities to introduce new approaches given the current public health crisis, USGBC will also publish a series of best practice guidance reports to help project teams assist their occupants as they re-enter their spaces.

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