On Oct. 7 at the City Club of Cleveland, USGBC President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam spoke about the message of Living Standard and how the LEED rating system is evolving. At the historic Ohio forum, Ramanujam talked with Justin Glanville, reporter and producer at Ideastream, about why creating a better narrative is at the core of building a universal standard of living for all.
Everything comes down to people
Using as examples his personal experiences, observations during international travel to other nations and the accomplishments of LEED users in helping make the world more sustainable for all people, Ramanujam emphasized how "sustainability is not a buzzword, sustainability is a way of living."
The industry is shifting its focus to people and quality of life, not just buildings, said Ramanujam. LEED shows striking results in reducing energy, water and waste, but the message that connects with people is the one that emphasizes human outcomes. "Contextualizing human health and wellness is key to making progress" in the industry, said Ramanujam.
Building a flexible rating system for the future
LEED certification standards can apply to many different spaces, said Ramanjam, and part of USGBC's journey in recent years has been addressing the question of expanding LEED beyond traditional spaces. "LEED is not simply a checklist—it's a framework, it's a mindset," said Ramanujam. "So, if you apply that ecosystem mindset to something else, what impact can we create from that?"
One innovation has been the rapid growth of the LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities rating system and its ability to recognize the steps that places at all levels are taking to improve the health, prosperity and social equity of their residents. USGBC's CEO mentioned to the Ohio audience, as local examples, that Cleveland and Columbus are already certified under LEED for Cities, with more on the way.
Another important area of emphasis for the future will be existing buildings, said Ramanujam, and making those structures more sustainable to reduce the wasteful cycle of demolition and new construction. LEED v4.1, the newest version of LEED, actually started with existing buildings.
Following the discussion with Glanville, Ramanujam answered questions from the audience about LEED and Living Standard. Read the latest Living Standard report.
View the conversation and Q&A on YouTube or watch below: