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Piraeus Port Plaza 1 | LEED Gold | Photo: Sandra Baer

Piraeus Port Plaza 1

Promoting resilient buildings and communities

USGBC is working to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated to encourage green building practices—and resilience is a clear extension of this work. We know that more sustainable buildings are the cornerstone to enhancing community resilience. The challenge, of course, is to do much more, which is manifested in our advocacy activities at all levels of government.

Federal advocacy
State and local advocacy
USGBC’s local communities

Green strategies support community resilience

Green buildings are driving resilience-enhancing designs, technologies, materials, and methods. To support these efforts, green buildings often include practices such as the use of durable materials, thoughtful site selection, rainwater collection, demand response, grid , maximal energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy generation and more.

What is resilience? USGBC and our partners have defined resilience as the “ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events.” Through our work, USGBC finds that resilience means:

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Design Planning

Proactive design planning and construction for potential impacts of reasonably expected natural disasters with minimal damage.

Beautiful landscape with building in background
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Healthy Site

Creation and execution of a site development plan that promotes healthy vegetation, soils, and aquatic ecosystems to provide ecosystem services such as flood control.

Man using weed wacker to trim grass on project site
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Maintaining Project Site

Design, building, and maintaining of the project site and adjacent landscapes to reduce risk of wildfire.

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Catastrophic Event

Support for community recovery during catastrophic events and extended bulk power grid outages by enabling islanding and power reliability to essential services.

Rating system tools

Through LEED and other programs and initiatives, USGBC promotes and advocates for of design, construction, operation, and maintenance that address and emphasize resilience in buildings, landscapes, power systems, and communities. Beyond sustainability, green building and infrastructure certifications are driving resilience-enhancing designs, technologies, materials, and methods.

LEED is the gold standard for how buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated. LEED promotes resilience in each of these areas as well via the LEED Climate Resilience Screening Tool, which evaluates the resilience potential of each LEED credit. For examples of LEED-certified projects that have exhibited exemplary resilience, see our Profiles in Resilience brief.

LEED for Cities
LEED for Cities is a pilot certification program that supports progress towards better, more resilient cities. Available through the Arc performance platform, LEED for Cities provides cities with solutions for measuring and managing energy and water use, human experience, waste production, and transportation usage on a city scale.

SITES is the sustainable land development and management program that aims, in part, to “create regenerative systems and foster resiliency.” SITES provides a green infrastructure framework for landscapes of virtually any type. Because SITES was modeled after LEED, the system optimizes resilience efforts by enabling some projects to concurrently pursue both certifications.

PEER is the certification program that measures power system performance and electricity infrastructure, while also working to improve the sustainability, reliability, and resilience of these systems. PEER includes guidance for cities, utilities, campuses, and transit to help ensure reliable delivery of electricity, reduction of emissions, improved safety and security, and more.

Resources to support resilience

Access resources to support your resilience efforts.

Research and reports

USGBC has participated in and tracks research to advance our collective understanding of resilience in the built environment.


USGBC offers wide selection of on-demand education courses focused on resilience. Search the USGBC online course catalog for related courses.


USGBC hosts several annual events with our members, partners, and industry leaders to facilitate collaboration and information sharing in pursuit of our mission. National and regional events each offer education and networking opportunities at the nexus of green building and community resilience.

  • Resilient Cities Summit: This annual convening of elected officials, private sector stakeholders, and subject matter experts allows attendees to share best practices and explore solutions to designing, building, and governing a more resilient city. The Resilient Cities Summit is a unique complement to other programs, serving as a leading forum for city sustainability, resilience, and financing solutions. See reports from our 2017, 2016, and 2015 summits, and check back for more information on future summits.
  • Greenbuild: Each year, Greenbuild brings together professionals, advocates, designers, and experts to share strategies for sustainability and resilience. In recent years, USGBC has amplified the conference’s focus on sharing resilient strategies at the city and sector level. 
Demonstration projects
  • Recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (Louisiana): In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, USGBC and our members worked across the Gulf Coast to prioritize sustainability in the rebuilding and recovery process.
  • Green Schools Fellow (video): USGBC placed a fellow in the Recovery School District of Louisiana to assist with rebuilding the schools after the storms. As of October 2017, 64 green schools projects had been completed and certified to LEED with more in the pipeline.
  • William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center (Port-au-Prince, Haiti): Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, USGBC partnered with Fondation Enfant Jesus to help oversee the design and construction of the first LEED-certified orphanage and children’s center in Haiti. Using local workforce and bioclimatic architecture to harness the trade winds, the net-zero energy facility will be independent from the unreliable power grid in Port-au-Prince, and provides a shining example of resilience, both for Haiti and also for other developing nations.
  • Recovery from Superstorm Sandy (New York and New Jersey): After wind and water wreaked havoc on the Mid Atlantic, USGBC and our local communities supported the recovery and rebuilding process. The City of Hoboken’s experience inspired the need for a resilient downtown microgrid that is using PEER certification to ensure resilient power system design and performance.
  • LEEDing Tiny Project (Florida): USGBC Florida community is working with Eco Relics and Norsk Tiny Houses to design and construct the first LEED-certified tiny house in the United States. The LEEDing Tiny Project aims to educate the public about healthy, sustainable, the value of LEED in homes, as well as inspiring others to go small and resilient at the same time.


Contact us for help with projects, rating systems, or your community resilience efforts at

News & insights about resilience

PEER-certified airports in India take flight with power resi…USGBC+/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/peer-airport-feature.jpg?itok=dqFsM97E5Apr 25, 2023sbyrne_1SumnerByrne14763182
LEED Gold cities like Miami lead on climate resilienceLEED/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/leed-gold-cities-like-miami.jpg?itok=iSeqJcJB3Mar 21, 2023hvarnadore_1HilariVarnadore 14700582
A look at resilience bills in Washington stateAdvocacy and policy/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/a-look-at-resilience-bills.jpg?itok=4S49KGMx2Mar 13, 2023RPrice_22RebeccaPrice14684939
A faith community uses Greenbuild Legacy funds to bolster re…USGBC+/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/legacyfeature.jpg?itok=VgWWnl0g7Jan 24, 2023alana.pedalinoAlanaPedalino14600223
Enhancing resilience through building information modelingIndustry/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/building-information-modeling.jpg?itok=-Nu3WLlo4Dec 16, 2022rdowseyRobynDowsey14527726
Adapting to hotter summers means building resilience Industry/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/hotter-summer.jpg?itok=4HwoCAPw4Aug 05, 2022dverdinezDeisyVerdinez14326768

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