Promoting resilient buildings and communities
USGBC is working to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated to encourage green building practices—and resilience is a clear extension of this work. We know that more sustainable buildings are the cornerstone to enhancing community resilience, and our work continues to expand our reach to other sectors of the built environment. The Center for Resilience is a USGBC initiative housing all of the organization’s resilience activities. We know that addressing and emphasizing resilience through green building and infrastructure certifications can help ensure a more resilient future for all.
The hard work of USGBC members, partners, and LEED users underscores our collective commitment to building a greener future among the mounting challenges of our era. USGBC is proud to count continued progress toward fulfilling our mission of a sustainable and resilient built environment. The challenge, of course, is to do much more, which is manifested in our advocacy activities at all levels of government.
The federal government plays an important role in setting the policy context for risk management and in helping to finance planning and recovery. Working closely with the executive and legislative branches, USGBC is a champion for principled policy and dedicated resources to support more resilient buildings and communities through various federal programs and funding streams.
- Article: Federal Funding Doubles for Water Infrastructure Program in 2018 (April 2018)
- Letter: USGBC comment letter to FEMA Mitigation Leadership Group on draft National Mitigation Investment Strategy (March 2018)
- Article: Federal Budget Bill Supports Key USGBC Priorities (March 2018)
State and local governments are often responsible for the immediate response to natural disasters, and they offer critical on-the-ground perspectives for understanding vulnerabilities in communities. Here are some examples of USGBC’s work to support resilience at the state and local levels.
- Brief: Green Infrastructure Menu of State Policy Options (April 2018)
- Article: Building Resilience into State Investments and Operations (April 2018)
- Article: States Can Help Schools with Recovery when Disaster Strikes (April 2018)
- Article: Local, State, and Federal Responsibilities After a Disaster (March 2018)
- Letter: USGBC comment letter to Puerto Rico Energy Commission on proposed regulation on microgrid development in Puerto Rico (February 2018)
Local communities serve a critical role in providing local perspectives and practical solutions to challenges that states and municipalities face when seeking to enhance their resilience. Our local advocates and volunteers have helped to advance resilience programs, partnerships, and projects in their areas, such as:
- Professional education and events: for example, USGBC National Capital Region’s Voices on Resilience speaker series in 2015.
- Disaster response and planning: for example, the Urban Green Council, USGBC’s local community in New York City, convened a Building Resiliency Task Force to develop 33 policy proposals for more resilient built infrastructure in New York.
- Partnerships with local resilience-focused organizations like Resilient Virginia, which is strengthened by the support of state and local chapters of key stakeholder organizations including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and others.
Rating system tools
Through LEED and other programs and initiatives, USGBC promotes and advocates for principles of design, construction, operation, and maintenance that address and emphasize resilience in buildings, landscapes, power systems, and communities. Beyond sustainability, green building and infrastructure certifications are driving resilience-enhancing designs, technologies, materials, and methods.
LEED is the gold standard for how buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated. LEED promotes resilience in each of these areas as well via the LEED Climate Resilience Screening Tool, which evaluates the resilience potential of each LEED credit. For examples of LEED-certified projects that have exhibited exemplary resilience, see our Profiles in Resilience brief.
PEER is the certification program that measures power system performance and electricity infrastructure, while also working to improve the sustainability, reliability, and resilience of these systems. PEER includes guidance for cities, utilities, campuses, and transit to help ensure reliable delivery of electricity, reduction of emissions, improved safety and security, and more.
SITES is the sustainable land development and management program that aims, in part, to “create regenerative systems and foster resiliency.” SITES provides a green infrastructure framework for landscapes of virtually any type. Because SITES was modeled after LEED, the system optimizes resilience efforts by enabling some projects to concurrently pursue both certifications.
LEED for Cities
LEED for Cities is a pilot certification program that supports continues progress towards better, more resilient cities. Available through the Arc performance platform, LEED for Cities provides cities with solutions for measuring and managing energy and water use, human experience, waste production, and transportation usage on a city scale.
The RELi resilience rating system is rising as the new leadership benchmark for resilient buildings and neighborhoods. RELi focuses on resilience by requiring assessment and planning for acute hazards, preparedness to mitigate against them, and designing and constructing for passive survivability.