Mandy Lee

New case studies highlight four projects awarded the social equity pilot credits.

Launched in 2014, the LEED social equity pilot credits encourage any and all members of a project team to promote and further social equity by integrating strategies that address identified social and community issues, needs and disparities among those affected by the project.

Four exemplary LEED projects have leveraged the social equity pilot credits to demonstrate how their design, programs and organizational operations have maximized positive social impact. Every location is different, which means there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to social equity issues.

Explore these four case studies for a deeper understanding on how to apply equitable practices to the development process:

Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being

This project is the result of a strong partnership between the Mental Health Center of Denver and the predominantly low-income Northeast Park Hill community in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of four years of planning, Park Hill residents shared their ideas about holistic well-being with the project team.

Building on the strengths and input of the community, the Dahlia Campus established partnerships and added a comprehensive array of new services to the four-acre site, in addition to their mental health offerings. These include inclusive early childhood education, pediatric dental care, access to naturally grown fish and produce cultivated on-site and a variety of indoor and outdoor community spaces to support multigenerational populations. Learn more about this project on their website and in a video.

Softtek Aguascalientes III Etapa

This building is a hub for IT services and business process solutions located in north-central Mexico. Recognizing that a neighboring community called Pocitos was not sharing fully in the benefits of economic growth occurring in the city of Aguascalientes, Softtek undertook a community engagement process to consider how they could extend the positive impact of their new building.

Together, Softtek and Pocitos residents envisioned a software training program targeted to young adults with limited access to higher education and employment opportunities. Softtek created a dedicated Technology Classroom and provided participants with access to educational materials, computer equipment and the internet. The Technology Classroom aims to double the household income for participants within two years.

Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center 

Located at the entrance to Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington, the center is designed to express cultural awareness, acceptance, celebration of heritage, restoration of native landscapes and a sense of place for the campus and larger community. Throughout the space, multicultural design features recognize the history and influence of Niimíípu (Nez Perce) American Indian, African American, Latino/Latina, Chicano/Chicana and Asian American/Pacific Islander communities on the state and the university.

Named in honor of University President Dr. Elson S. Floyd, the building reflects Floyd’s deep commitment to making WSU a campus where diversity is institutionalized and celebrated. In alignment with the ideals of the project, GGLO, the project’s architect, landscape and design firm, demonstrated their commitment to social responsibility through JUST label certification, which earned the team the LEED pilot credit. Learn more about this project in a video.

Town Hall Apartments

The apartments transformed the decommissioned Town Hall Police Station in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, into an affordable senior housing complex that is also LGBTQ-friendly. Using an integrative process and visioning workshops, the project team engaged potential residents and advocates to develop common project goals and design a safe and accepting environment that promotes well-being, community and choice.

The building is co-located with a social services agency to offer programming and trained staff on-site, and it features a wide variety of communal spaces and events proposed during the engagement process. Although Town Hall isn’t exclusively for LGBTQ residents, it does provide an inclusive environment to make people of all sexual orientations and gender identities feel welcome.

Social equity considerations are now beginning to be considered a key component of green building practices. We hope and expect to see these issues become central, defining dimensions for all green buildings.

Learn more about social equity strategies