WASHINGTON, DC-The US Green Building Council has unveiled a new initiative that uses its LEED rating system to help businesses and governments reopen the US economy. It is putting in place emergency guidance and upgrades to the LEED green building program that emphasize standards for a healthy building and workplace, among other actions.

“By helping everyone understand the role a LEED-certified building can have in creating healthy spaces, we can help rebuild public trust, stimulate the economy and ultimately bring about a healthier standard of living for all,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC.

Under what it is calling the Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy strategy, USGBC is updating current LEED strategies in LEED v4.1 that support indoor environmental quality, cleaning, occupant comfort, operations, better materials and risk management. It is also seeking to introduce new approaches given the current public health crisis.

USGBC will also be taking the following actions:

Introduce new LEED strategies: In the next two weeks, LEED will launch new pilot credits to support social distancing, nontoxic surface cleaning, air quality and infection monitoring.

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 next week to hear perspectives from the broader market on how LEED and healthy spaces can evolve given the current public health crisis.

Adapted 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. Guidance will be published this week.

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,” added Ramanujam. “Sustainability is central to creating jobs, saving energy and saving money, all of which are part of the backbone of a strong economy.”