Green Buildings Can Now Include Social Equity

I was inspired by the conversation at our recent session on “Increasing Diversity in the Green Building Movement.” Held at the Municipal Green Building Conference in Los Angeles, our panel focused on actions to improve social equity related to the built environment. National Organization of Minority Architects President Kevin Holland reported on past, present and future collaboration between his organization and the US Green Building Council.

Greenbuild L.A. Legacy Project co-chair Maya Henderson presented the Eco-Tech Maker Space, which will offer underserved communities S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curricula, hands-on learning, and environmental stewardship via the reuse of discarded, safe manufacturing materials.

My part was a discussion of three relatively new Social Equity pilot credits within the LEED Green Building rating system. Encompassing Community, Project Team and Supply Chain, the three credits offer development teams pathways to enhance the social benefit of their projects. The credits are a clear sign that after 15 years of ratcheting up project performance in energy, water, materials etc. the green building movement is now focusing on project performance for people.

If we need proof that inclusion and equitable treatment are an important part of doing business, we need only look at the daily media. I encourage you to check out these ideas as a means of guaranteeing tomorrow’s society will be even fairer and more equitable than today’s.

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