America is reopening including physically opening its buildings and the U.S. Green Building Council has announced that LEED will play a role in confronting risk in the post coronavirus pandemic era.

Last week Mahesh Ramanujam, the President & CEO of USGBC announced in a published letter 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 in a post pandemic world,

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, we will promptly release LEED pilot credits to support social distancing, nontoxic surface cleaning, air quality and infection monitoring.”

In announcing the first two LEED pilot credits, USGBC said, “Green buildings feature opportunities for creating more equitable, healthier, and supportive environments for construction workers, and in many locations, construction workers are considered essential. Here are resources related to planning and preventing worker exposure to COVID-19.”

LEED BD+C: New Construction v4.1 INpc136 Safety First: Re-Enter Your Workspace is a special pilot credit with a possible 1 point. Its stated intent is “to promote best practice requirements in operations and human behavior to take precautions against the spread of COVID 19” and that is accomplished using the AIA Re-occupancy Assessment Tool V1.0 creating a re-occupancy assessment and requirements for an operations plan and the drafting of a management and operations plan. It is a social science study that requires keeping a daily journal of plan implementation including answering questions like, “Are you in control of your life?”

LEED BD+C: New Construction v4.1 INpc137 Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space is a special pilot credit with a possible 1 point. Its stated intent is “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 a policy and practices that focuses on green cleaning that now must meet the guidelines of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency relative to COVID-19. 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.

Both of these pilot credits require submittals that are a plan with follow up survey results so they are low first dollar cost credits.

USGBC has said, “these special pilot credits are awarded based on project teams attempting to meet the requirements to the best of their ability and providing feedback on the requirements. The credits may change as feedback is received.”

In most places in America building did not stop as construction was an essential business and now nearly everywhere construction sites are operating fully staffed. Green building is a subset of that essential real estate sector.

If we can assist you in mitigating the risk in the coronavirus pandemic operation of your real estate business including working on your reopening plan or otherwise with an environmental matter, we are ready to help you.