Assessing the Equity of Access to Greener Buildings: LEED-Certified Schools and Libraries, Their Surrounding Neighborhoods, and Who Owns Them
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Our detailed data provided by the US Green Building Council, the nonprofit that manages LEED certification, allow us to place the spatial correlation between EJ demographics and the presence of green schools and libraries in context with the spatial correlations for other types of certified green buildings (e.g., commercial, residential, restaurants) and separate out publicly owned from nonprofit and for-profit ownership. Each LEED-certified building is precisely mapped and compared with surrounding census tract data at a national scale for this analysis. Although the rich empirical descriptives do not permit causal interpretation, common in EJ analyses, they do allow the examination the neighborhood public facilities for our children – notably their schools and libraries – and which ones are “green”. For the over-600 educational buildings that LEED-certified at various levels, what kind of neighborhoods do we tend to locate them in? Which groups of kids have easier access to and more exposure to greener buildings? The presence of thousands of other LEED-certified buildings, and information on whether the building owner is governmental, nonprofit, or for-profit, allows for a multidimensional comparison of the tendencies to locate various green buildings in neighborhoods with different demographics. This allows us to directly test if governments have different tendencies than private-sector owners, and whether more “public buildings” (and educational buildings in particular) tend to be located in neighborhoods with different socioeconomic characteristics. This will indirectly inform the presence of potential biases in different actors and for different sorts of building uses and exposures.