News Brief

LEED’s Resilient Design Pilot Credits Bounce Back

The resilient design pilot credits were taken down temporarily but have returned—with a few changes.

A dump truck snow plow clears snow from Purple Heart Drive during a snow storm March 5, 2015, on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Severe winter storms are now explicitly mentioned in the Resilient Design Pilot Credits.

Photo: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jared Duhon / Public Domain
Three newly revived pilot credits offer project teams the option of using resilient design to gain LEED points. Pilot credits are a way for users to test out new concepts and achieve points under the Innovation category of the LEED rating systems.

The basic structure of the suite of credits has not changed: the first credit involves an assessment, the second requires design that mitigates issues identified in that assessment, and the third rewards projects for maintaining safe thermal conditions and reasonable functionality during extended power outages or heating-fuel disruptions. But details of the credits have changed significantly.

“We took them down to work on harmonization with the RELi standard,” explained Melissa Baker, senior vice president for technical core at the U.S. Green Building Council. RELi (pronounced “rely”) focuses exclusively on building resilience. Baker added that some of the members of the former USGBC Resilience Working Group, which developed the original credits, have joined the RELi Steering Committee, which will help support alignment over time.

Among the changes:

  • IPpc98, Assessment and Planning for Resilience, now includes specific references to climate change. Formerly, the credit’s language muted the issue of climate change, cordoning climate-related risks off in an optional part of the credit. “With the updated version of the credit, the list of vulnerabilities that have to be considered is expanded to include sea-level rise, extreme heat, and more intense winter storms,” wrote Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen and the Resilient Design Institute, in a blog post on the revived credits. Wilson, who helped write both the original credits and the revised versions, is vice chair of the RELi Steering Committee (and he works part-time for BuildingGreen).
  • IPpc99, Design for Enhanced Resilience, now offers a tiered system with two points available—a first for pilot credits. The bar has also been lowered a bit to make the credit more accessible. Formerly, project teams had to address all of the top three risks identified in order to get one point. Now they can address the top one (for one point) or two (for the second point).
  • IPpc100, Passive Survivability and Back-up Power During Disruptions, “is where the pilot credits really broke new ground, especially by addressing passive survivability—the idea that buildings should be able to keep occupants safe during extended power outages or interruptions in heating fuel,” according to Wilson. One of the biggest changes here is that the credit no longer addresses access to potable water—only thermal safety and back-up power. The credit also references some new standards (beyond Standard Effective Temperature) for defining thermal safety, and there’s now a prescriptive path: Passive House certification. As with Credit 99, projects can earn up to two points for this credit: one for demonstrating passive survivability and another for meeting the back-up-power requirements.

Project teams can start registering for the pilot credits immediately.

More on resilient design and rating systems

The Four Core Issues to Tackle for Resilient Design (And the Programs That Can Help)

Standard Effective Temperature: A Metric for Thermal Comfort and Resilience

Resilient Design Pilot Credits Added to LEED

For more information:

Resilient Design Institute

Published October 10, 2018

Melton, P. (2018, October 10). LEED’s Resilient Design Pilot Credits Bounce Back. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.