The U.S. Green Building Council is seeking input to further develop an equity strategy for its green-building programs, scheduled to be released by the end of March. Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC’s president and CEO, announced USGBC All In: Building Equity Together during the Nov. 10-12 Greenbuild Conference & Expo, held virtually this year because of COVID-19.

Toward equity and inclusion, Ramanujam also announced USGBC will provide funding for 500 people in underserved communities to earn professional credentials under the USGBC’s LEED green building certification program.

“Green building and equity go hand-in-hand, and we know that addressing and emphasizing sustainability through green building can provide communities with resources and opportunities that can help them reach their full potential,” said Ramanujam, also president and CEO of the affiliated Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) and Arc.  “At USGBC, we believe that a sustainable future is meaningless without an equitable future. When we say USGBC is ‘all in,’ we mean we are committed to taking inclusive action to empower all people to reach their full potential and improve their standard of living regardless of race, class, gender, ability, age, health or economic status.”

Topics in the All In program include:

  • USGBC plans to offer Arc for All for free to projects from underserved and underrepresented communities to help with incremental steps toward LEED certification. Arc is a performance solution and the online interface for LEED and other certifications.
  • The group intends to refine and enhance LEED's intent, pilot credits, credits, regional priority credits and the integrative design process to ensure projects pursuing LEED certification prioritize and implement inclusive design, construction and operational strategies.
  • USGBC aims to develop new green-building credentials and certificates for those from underserved and underrepresented communities.
  • The group will review its governance structure and policies to include those who have not historically been able to participate in shaping the vision for USGBC, GBCI and LEED. In addition, USGBC aims to create councils around the world to advise its CEO on ways to grow the equity program. 
  • In the future, the group expects to conduct research and public opinion surveys to understand the effectiveness of its equity strategy.