The Sustainable Disaster Response Council (SDRC) has welcomed the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as a founding member.
SDRC says its mission is to promote sustainability in disaster response and property restoration, helping American homes, businesses and communities turn every loss into smart investments in a stronger, safer, healthier and environmentally responsible future.
USGBC is the creator of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standard. In addition, SDRC says USGBC is the voice of a booming green building sector that now outpaces overall U.S. construction growth and is forecast to directly contribute 1.1 million jobs, $75.6 billion in wages and $303.5 billion to GDP (gross domestic product) by 2018.
“USGBC brings invaluable expertise to a growing body of SDRC members that will include disaster response and property restoration contractors, product manufacturers, insurers, property owners and managers, the architecture, engineering and construction community and experts from industry trades, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), academia and government,” SDRC says.
“Focusing on disaster response is a natural evolution for the green building movement,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC president and CEO. “Owners of more than 15 billion square feet of building space worldwide already use LEED to demonstrate how buildings can dramatically reduce their energy and water consumption, but we also know LEED certified projects have diverted more than 80 million tons of construction and demolition waste from landfills, and that’s just one example of how green buildings can directly contribute to sustainable disaster response and property restoration.”
SDRC says its first order of business will be to develop a roadmap that ties together best practices for construction and demolition debris, land-use, energy, water, materials, and other aspects of rebuilding and restoring properties and infrastructure in a more sustainable way. The council will develop standards that incorporate and build upon existing programs like LEED and serve as the basis to certify disaster response projects and accredit associated professionals.
“Thirteen U.S. weather events in 2016 each caused losses in excess of $1 billion—a reminder that increasingly frequent and severe storms, together with every day localized fire and water damage, carry a big price tag for insurers, property owners and governments,” says SDRC President Stephen Bushnell, a 40-year veteran of the insurance industry. “We’re excited to have USGBC help us think about how to turn these losses into greener, healthier and more resilient buildings—and we can learn a lot from USGBC’s experience developing LEED.”