RELi, the Rating System for Resiliency, Comes of Age

Green Business Certification Inc. has adopted the standard to encourage the creation of buildings that can bounce back.

In building design, first came energy efficiency. Now, with the threat of increasing storms and natural disasters looming large, comes resiliency.

Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which administers LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), recently announced it will be adopting another standard: RELi.

According to a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) press release, RELi was first developed in 2012 by the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability and its Capital Markets Partnership coalition and includes “a robust integrative process, acute hazard preparation and adaptation along with chronic risk mitigation at the building and neighborhood scale.”

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC and GBCI, noted in the release, “The increasing frequency of dramatic events has brought an even greater urgency to create buildings and communities that are better adapted to a changing climate and better able to bounce back from disturbances and interruptions. We are committed to scaling RELi to become a national and international rating system managed by USGBC and its partner Green Business Certification Inc."

A steering committee chaired by Doug Pierce, the principal investigator for the RELi 1.0 standard and senior associate at architecture firm Perkins+Will, is being formed to refine the standard to help rapidly commercialize resilient design.

“We are delighted, if not humbled, that the USGBC is embracing this innovative tool that we and our partners have worked on so diligently and so passionately for the last half-decade,” said Pierce in a separate press release. “What we’re seeing now is the merging of thought leadership from some of the world's most progressive designers and thinkers with the global organizing capacity of the USGBC. It’s going to create unprecedented potential for market transformation toward resilience planning and resilient design.”

Resilience applies to both buildings and communities. Credits can be earned for a menu of actions in categories such as Hazard Preparedness; Hazard Adaption and Mitigation; Community Cohesion, Social and Economic Vitality; and Energy, Water and Food.

The RELi Resilience Action List Credit Catalog includes more than 190 indicators and metrics for creating resilient communities, neighborhoods, buildings and homes.

Some cities have already made resilience a priority thanks in part to a major initiative from the Rockefeller Foundation called 100 Resilient Cities, which grants funds for a Chief Resilience Officer to cities whose applications are accepted. 


Marianne Wait is an editor and writer who creates content for Fortune 500 brands.

Photo credit: Matej Kastelic /


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