LEED, other building certification systems, look to adjust to COVID-19 era

Building standards such as LEED, RELi and WELL are piloting tweaks to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

Design rating and certification systems like the popular LEED and WELL building standards are all in the process of being re-evaluated for short-term as well as long-term changes in the face of the coronavirus emergency, reports StarTribune.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and administered by its sister organization Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system is the most widely used green-building rating system in the world. LEED standards focus on numerous factors including energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and health.

When it comes to green building and COVID-19 and similar emergencies, Mahesh Ramanujam, chief executive of the U.S. Green Building Council, said: “I do believe that LEED buildings are definitely in a much better place to respond to this crisis than traditional construction would do because of the simple reason that a LEED certified building is in a much better place in terms of its design, construction and operations.”

What is going to become more important is fresh air circulated throughout the whole building, as well as spaces designed for relax and isolation.

This month, Minnesota was announced to have reached 100 million square feet of LEED-certified space. Last year, the state ranked eighth nationally in terms of the amount of LEED-certified gross square feet per capita.

The WELL building standard, which is led by the International WELL Building Institute, focuses on features that support and advance human health and wellness.

The institute is forming a task force on coronavirus that will inform new enhancements to the WELL building standard as well.

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