New LEED Credit Connects Safety and Sustainability

usgbc20logo2As we have experienced sustainability transition from an uncommon, specialty concern into a widely accepted expectation for design and construction, LJB’s safety professionals have often wondered, “How can something be considered sustainable if saving human lives isn’t considered?”

With the introduction of “Prevention through Design,” to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Pilot Credit Library, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is acknowledging the critical role that safety plays in fostering true sustainability. The intent of the credit is to reduce illnesses and injuries in both construction and O&M by supporting designs that reduce or eliminate potential safety and health hazards.

For example, the pilot credit promotes cross-disciplinary safety design and constructability reviews, which may result in a decision to reduce fall hazards by installing a parapet wall, or by specifying skylights rated for impact.

The USGBC tests new and innovative concepts for credits by first placing them in the LEED Pilot Credit Library. Project teams seeking LEED certification gain the LEED Innovation credit by agreeing to try out and submit an evaluation for any of the pilot credits. USGBC collects, organizes and integrates project team feedback to refine pilot credits during testing, with a goal of adding successful credits to the LEED rating system.

If building teams can proactively strategize to protect energy and environmental resources, even greater effort should be placed on protecting human lives. If your next project seeks LEED Certification, please consider using the Prevention through Design pilot credit to help make it a permanent credit in the LEED program.

You can also learn more about efforts to connect safety and sustainability through USGBC and NIOSH.

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