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How LEED professionals can help during a global pandemic

How LEED professionals can help during a global pandemic

During a public health crisis such as the one we’re experiencing on a global scale with COVID-19, it is more crucial than ever to consider the state of our indoor environments. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced a new strategy, “Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy”, pushing LEED professionals to rise to the challenge of building a healthier, more sustainable future by leveraging the knowledge and experience of its community. LEED pilot ‘Safety First’ credits are being offered for ideas on how to maintain social distancing measures, improve air quality and infection monitoring, and use nontoxic surface cleaning. Sustainable design isn’t just about energy usage and achieving lower emissions, it’s also about keeping people healthy and happy in the world we occupy.

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The Safety First credits are centered on four areas of improvement: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space, Re-Entering Your Workspace, Building Water System Recommissioning, and Managing Indoor Air Quality During COVID-19. The first two credits are operations standards which involve steps such as setting procedures in place for cleaning personnel, providing awareness training for building occupants, configuring space to allow for social distancing and touch point reduction, and setting policies in place that use environmentally safe products while meeting the CDC and EPA guidelines that relate to COVID-19. The other two credits relate to building adaptations which reduce the associated impacts of the virus. With buildings having been unoccupied for several months, it is important to test water for contaminants due to inactivity and the flushing of disinfectants. The USGBC also notes that there are several steps that can be taken toward increasing building ventilation and filtration to improve indoor air quality and minimize the spread of the virus such as updating or adjusting HVAC systems and increasing the use of natural ventilation to dilute indoor air.

The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. has a team of professionals, including several LEED APs, working to ensure the work we do is in the best interest of our clients and the communities we love.  We hope that sharing this resource helps spread awareness about how our fellow engineers and architects can use their skills and knowledge to help in this trying time.

Check out this link for more detail on how LEED professionals can take action to reduce the impact of COVID-19: https://www.usgbc.org/articles/usgbc-releases-new-leed-guidance-address-covid-19-and-support-buildings-reopening

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