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How LEED Can Accomplish Both Climate and Resilience Goals
December 23, 2020 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
If you haven't looked at LEED for a bit, there really couldn't be a better time than now.
"Sustainable buildings are the cornerstone to enhancing community resilience," says Sean McMahon, vice president of product management at the U.S. Green Building Council. Though LEED has focused on sustainability and resilience since its inception, these days there are many new credits that reward strategies specifically focused both on climate change mitigation and resilience.
A new suite of LEED Resilience Design pilot credits is available to all LEED v4 or v4.1 new construction projects. These credits have also been harmonized to align with RELi, a new rating system specifically focused on building resilience. The LEED pilot credits and RELi are designed for new buildings, but the same concepts can be applied to existing, "particularly performing a risk analysis to identify the probable impacts of climate change on your properties," says McMahon. So the LEED rating system can provide invaluable guidance and resources for facility managers looking to reduce their climate impact and improve resilience.
But where to start?
"A first step is simply understanding that the decisions we make about how to design, build, and operate buildings have important consequences and help determine the severity of climate impacts — including those which directly impact the health and wellbeing of people," says McMahon.
From there, it's also important to understand the priorities of your specific organization, and focus on LEED strategies that hit those targets. Finally, don't let LEED and RELi strategies be a one-time thing. Continuously monitor (with USGBC's Arc platform or other) and refine all climate- and resilience-focused goals. This can be difficult. But you're in the perfect position to get this done.
"Facility managers play an important role in advancing resilience efforts for each building they operate," says McMahon.
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