As part of our commitment to create green, healthy and inclusive communities and to promote socially responsible practices, USGBC has developed the brief Social Equity in Green Building Policies. This brief discusses the nexus between green buildings and social equity and identifies U.S. cities that are striving to use this connection to remedy inequities in their communities.
Green building and sustainable principles help create eco-friendly and socially equitable communities in a number of ways, such as by creating
- Opportunities in an expanding green economy.
- Access to livable, affordable housing.
- Improvements to community health.
- Access to healthy environments for education.
Cities such as New York City and Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California, have incorporated measurable goals in their climate action plans that target these aspects of living.
USGBC also provides several mechanisms and resources to increase social equity in green building. For example, LEED v4 features three pilot credits aimed at incorporating equity into LEED-certified projects:
- Social Equity Within the Supply Chain encourages social equity for those involved in the production of materials and products for our buildings.
- Social Equity Within the Project Team encourages a project’s leaders to incorporate social equity into their daily activities.
- Social Equity Within the Community encourages a project team to address identified needs and disparities in the surrounding community.
USGBC also provides a learning pathway and a social equity toolkit to point out strategies and make community connections easier. Also, download the LEED Project Team Checklist to review questions that allow project teams to get creative and be intentional about incorporating social equity strategies into their projects.
In addition, the new Social Equity in Green Building Policies brief identifies LEED projects that have excelled at incorporating equity into their design and construction process and have had a positive impact on their surrounding communities.