Greenbuild 2019: A sustainable design tool to improve building performance; eco-positive building strategies; a new sustainability credential

by Brianna Crandall — November 22, 2019 — At this week’s annual Greenbuild conference, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched Insight, a new data-driven tool that highlights building project design features that can lead to better performance. At Greenbuild, USGBC also launched its LEED Positive vision statement, and sister organization Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) announced that it is officially adding two ISSP sustainability credentials.


Insight is available as a feature of the Arc platform, which certification teams can use to collect, manage and benchmark data in order to measure their project’s green performance. Insight provides information on the design attributes of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings within a specified geographic region.

Project teams can then compare and rank potential sustainability strategies to see how they stack up against the performance of other buildings. Insight is designed to leverage the depth of the existing LEED data to aid designers and builders in adopting smart, practical and achievable sustainability strategies.

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC, stated:

The Insight tool is all about partnership, innovation and green building performance. USGBC has a vision of a performance-oriented future, and the trajectory of LEED is to continue to improve the performance throughout the lifecycle of buildings. Holistically, LEED enables the best possible buildings — and with tools like Insight, it will also allow building owners and city leaders to better track progress toward their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

Insight can be leveraged by LEED and green building teams to improve the design — and eventually performance — of their buildings by encouraging the implementation of best practices during the design and construction stage. Insight helps green building and LEED project teams identify practices that could improve building performance and eliminate those that pose a risk to their long-term investment. The new tool is part of USGBC’s continued efforts to leverage data and technology to encourage more informed decisions around sustainability.

Insight was created in partnership with Skanska, a project development and construction group and also USGBC member company and longtime supporter of the green building movement. Experts from both organizations worked together over two years to develop the tool.

Beth Heider, FAIA, chief sustainability officer, Skanska USA, pointed out:

Insight can compare your project team’s aspirations for energy, water and waste savings with results from similar buildings in your region, which allows you to visualize how the performance of your project stacks up to other buildings like yours and will help you make informed decisions about practical and achievable sustainability strategies. Skanska is proud of this work alongside USGBC that provides design phase insight to the Arc platform.

The ability to consider the impact of strategies and decisions is expected to help building teams be more effective in tracking sustainability performance and progress. Insight supports teams pursuing LEED certification, as well as projects that are already certified but are committed to maintaining a high level of performance or seeking recertification.

For more information on the Insight tool, visit the Arc website.

USGBC’s vision for LEED Positive

At Greenbuild, USGBC also announced its LEED Positive vision statement and LEED development roadmap that will lay the foundation for a future of LEED that is regenerative. To help address the world’s “staggering” challenges of water scarcity, air quality, resiliency and climate change, the LEED Positive vision will guide USGBC in transitioning LEED from strategies that reduce the harm done by buildings to strategies that cause no harm and begin the process of healing and repair.

ISSP professional credentials

USGBC’s sister organization, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), also announced at Greenbuild that it is officially adding two sustainability credentials to its suite of green business services, which include such credentials as LEED AP, WELL AP, SITES AP and City Climate Planner, and other programs such as the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL Building Standard, the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), Parksmart, EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), TRUE Zero Waste certification, Investor Confidence Project (ICP) for energy efficiency retrofits, RELi for resilient design, and the GRESB benchmark for institutional investors.

Originally developed by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), GBCI will maintain, promote and deliver the ISSP Sustainability Associate (ISSP-SA) and ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP). The credentials provide third-party verification of competency in the field of sustainability and recognize individuals committed to making the world more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Earning an ISSP credential demonstrates that a person has the skills and knowledge to plan, implement and evaluate the integration of sustainability into organizational culture and practices and is abreast of current issues, tools and techniques.