RELi User Guide provides detailed guidance to accelerate resilience

Katherine Hammack

Today, USGBC released new guidance to assist owners and design professionals in their efforts to implement resilience strategies in buildings through the RELi rating system. The RELi User Guide to Mandatory Requirements contains detailed submittal and documentation guidance for each of the mandatory requirements in the program and is intended to ensure project teams are informed and equipped to effectively plan, design, and develop RELi projects.

USGBC and GBCI have prioritized environmental, economic and social transformation in buildings and beyond. A key part of this work is advancing reliability and resilience strategies, as natural disasters and climate change have increasingly highlighted the need for more resilience in the built environment.

The RELi rating system and leadership standard offers strategies for the resilient design and operation of buildings. It is used by companies, developers, city planners, architects, and more to assess, plan for, adapt and mitigate the acute risks that buildings and communities can face during hazardous events, then bounce back.  These strategies encourage design and construction of buildings to maintain critical life-saving services in the event of extended loss of power, heating fuel or water.

As we have seen during 2020, natural disasters, ranging from hurricanes to wildfires and floods, create social and environmental emergencies, power disruptions and homelessness. RELi offers strategies for alternatives that can prevent and prepare communities for the worst-case scenario in cost-effective ways, such as Adaptive Design for Extreme Rain, Sea Rise, Storm Surge and Passive Thermal Safety. Only through consistent, resilient infrastructure can communities truly survive and thrive.

The RELi resilience rating system is in pilot phase, and currently available to to buildings that are seeking LEED® certification.  RELi builds on many of the sustainability strategies embedded in LEED to result in projects that can survive weather extremes, economic disruption and resource depletion.  By selectively bundling existing sustainable and regenerative guidelines – including many credits drawn from LEED® - with RELi’s ground-breaking credits for emergency preparedness, adaptation, and community vitality, RELi 2.0 is the most comprehensive certification rating system currently available for socially and environmentally resilient design and construction. RELi credit categories cover strategies in hazard preparedness, hazard mitigation and adaptation, energy + water, community vitality and more.

The RELi resilience program is outlined in the RELi Rating Guidelines.  The RELi User Guide to Mandatory Requirements is not intended to replace the RELi Rating Guidelines but is intended to enhance and expand understanding of program Requirements. 

Throughout 2020, GBCI worked with a variety of stakeholders and the RELi Steering Committee to gather data, strategies and clarifications to develop this companion guide which should be used in conjunction with the RELi Rating Guidelines to increase understanding of the expectations for each RELi Requirement.  The guide outlines interconnectivity between Requirements, provides step-by-step guidance, explains required documentation, and contains a range of resilience measures and strategies to reduce the probability of damage or disruption.

Individuals on RELi project teams will be called on to perform certain roles throughout the certification process.  Resilient design strategies involve a multidisciplinary team approach, including building operation staff.  We encourage you to overlap your RELi project team with your LEED project team, making it easier and faster to achieve certification under both rating systems!

Read the User Guide to Mandatory Requirements.

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