Ensuring the upkeep of our building systems has come to the forefront of our attention as the world continues to adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. What can building owners and managers do at a systems and operations level to ensure the safety of building occupants? With this question in mind, USGBC has seized an opportunity to highlight cleanliness, pandemic response, and building systems in its certification process. Read below to learn more about the six pilot credits USGBC has implemented that LEED projects can earn in response to COVID-19.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space: Keeping workspaces clean has been the focal point of the COVID-19 pandemic. This credit ensures that the cleaning supplies used by cleaning personnel can effectively kill COVID-19 while meeting EPA’s green certification standards. It also requires PPE to be given to cleaning personnel as well as training for proper cleaning procedures.

Re-Enter Your Workspace: This credit seeks feedback from management and its building occupants by having them record occupant comfort in a journal. The journal’s purpose is to gain an understanding on whether or not the building occupants feel safe in their space. Along with the journal, a management and operations plan needs to be developed for things such as social distancing, touch point reduction, and workforce preparation.

Building Water System Recommissioning: As climate change further evolves, it becomes imperative that our water be clean and free of pathogens. USGBC looks to have building owners pursuing this credit to create a plan that involves certified water technologists analyzing the community and building water supplies. If the water in the building is not up to EPA or Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, the plan calls for methods such as flush-outs.

Managing Indoor Air Quality during COVID-19: By social distancing and wearing masks, the spread of COVID-19 can be minimized. To further prevent the spread USGBC utilizes this credit to encourage increased ventilation, natural ventilation practices, and increased air filtration.

Pandemic Planning: This credit looks to have its building occupants better prepared in the case of an oncoming pandemic. This can be done by creating a team that monitors the health of the community, identifies at-risk groups, and provides education and training to stakeholders about risk assessment.

Social Equity in Pandemic Planning: USGBC’s intent behind this credit is “… to systematically consider equity implications across all phases of the pandemic preparedness, planning and response process”. This credit makes certain that everybody that works within a building space, no matter the socio-economic position, is recognized in the plan to be prepared for a pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the importance of keeping our building occupants, whether workers or customers, safer and cleaner. Implementing these credits into a LEED project allows building owners to promote a safe and productive work environment. VCA Green’s LEED consultants are more than willing to help you qualify with all the requirements for any of the mentioned credits are appropriately met. For more information, contact Moe Fakih below.

Contributing Writer: Jordan Venters, LEED Green Associate

Moe Fakih, Principal
714-363-4700 x 501