New Free Tool Helps Apply LEED v4 to Optimize Climate Resilience

Evan Bowechop

In a world with a changing climate, building designers, developers, investors, and entire communities are increasingly exposed to risks that cannot be navigated by referencing historic conditions alone. This is the central challenge that is explored in a 2011 research paper, co-authored by USGBC and the University of Michigan, that explores climate-related vulnerabilities and both mitigation and adaptation strategies that green buildings can prioritize through the LEED framework.

In 2013, USGBC built on this report by releasing the LEED Climate Resilience Screening Tool as a complement to the LEED v2009 suite of rating systems. This tool, says Dr. Chris Pyke, “provides a practical framework to identify climate sensitivities and prioritize opportunities to promote resilience through green building.”

Since then, resilience has rapidly emerged as a central focus for businesses, the real estate community, and policymakers alike. A growing number of organizations and both private and government programs are developing tools and pledging support for increased resilience.

USGBC has also since released its most current version of LEED, known as LEED v4, and, just last week, published a set of pilot credits that more explicitly reward project teams that implement resilience planning and design strategies. Read more here.

Today, USGBC releases the LEED Climate Resilience Screening Tool for LEED v4. Through this downloadable and flexible spreadsheet-based tool, project teams pursuing LEED v4 for BD+C, ID+C, O+M, ND, or Homes can identify an array of credits that are either sensitive to changing climate conditions or that provide opportunity for climate adaptation (or both). Alongside the new set of resilience-focused pilot credits, this tool can help any project team better leverage LEED v4 towards addressing resilience opportunities and risks.

When faced with a growing need to directly address resilience in our buildings and communities, I say, “LEED On!”


Evan Bowechop
Evan is a Master's Degree candidate in the Earth Systems program at Stanford University, with a focus in Sustainable Urban Systems. During the summer of 2015, Evan was hosted by USGBC as Schneider Fellow.