Resilient, reliable, and affordable electricity

The highly digitalized modern world demands a reliable grid that can power our everyday lives and ensure quality power to critical infrastructure and facilities. When power systems fail, lives are immediately interrupted and put at risk. Through access to sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity, providers can directly improve the quality of life of those who interact with their system.

Our global energy grid is badly in need of investments, often unreliable, and currently incapable of taking us to a new energy future. As climate change continues to result in more severe weather events, our aging infrastructure has accumulated the resulting damage and led to hundreds of blackouts across the world, leaving millions in the dark. Our grid systems must be built to adapt to and withstand severe shocks to the electrical system and ensure our safety and security are not compromised. To grow in a way that is both sustainable and resilient, modernizing our electricity grid and ensuring reliability is essential.

To confront this challenge, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) partnered with leaders in the power industry to develop a holistic, simple, and universally applicable tool to support the industry in developing the most reliable, scalable, and resilient grid possible. The PEER (Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal) rating system was created through a decade of work in collaboration with industry leaders and with the support of key partners such as S&C Electric and the Robert W. Galvin Foundation.

Today, PEER joins a suite of certifications and credentials administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). This includes LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system, which served as the model for the PEER program. With PEER, USGBC and GBCI aim to support global grid modernization efforts and to inspire, influence, and enable the energy sector to comprehensively address electricity demand, distribution, resiliency, and reliability.

Synergies between PEER and the UN SDGs

PEER recognizes the inextricable links of human health, the health of the environment, and the strength of our institutions. Strategies promoted by PEER drive market transformation in the power and energy sectors in ways that address climate change, protect the environment, and promote access to affordable and reliable energy. This is crucial in improving quality of life, reducing inequality and elevating resilience across a community.

There are many synergies between PEER and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were created as a global effort to address the social, economic and environmental issues facing society today. Explore the synergies between PEER and the SDGs, to identify strategies to achieve specific SDGs through PEER certification. Explore the PEER and UNSDG synergies below or view the PDF.


Goal 1: No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

PEER advances goal 1 by:

  • Building community resilience and reducing susceptibility to climate-related threats that further disadvantage people in poverty through strategies such as protecting critical infrastructure, establishing emergency preparedness and response measures, and ensuring uninterrupted, quality power.
  • Improving livelihood and economy through the establishment of reliable, quality and accessible power for all.
Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

PEER advances goal 3 by:

  • Reducing hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination associated with energy generation, transmission, and distribution through local renewable energies and reduced fossil fuel consumption.
  • Designing and building energy infrastructure that minimizes air pollution, which increases the likelihood of respiratory diseases, cancer and other illnesses.
Goal 4: Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

PEER advances goal 4 by:

  • Providing accessible, low-cost education courses about topics such as renewable energies, smart grid concepts, and system resilience for energy professionals, students, and others through the USGBC Education Portal.
  • Teaching about energy-related topics to increase the number of people who have relevant technical, vocational, and marketable skills for employment.
  • Utilizing universal design strategies to promote resilient academic facilities that ensure education is not disrupted by power outages.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

PEER advances goal 6 by:

  • Reducing consumption of clean water through efficient technologies in electricity generation.
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

PEER advances goal 7 by:

  • Reducing user energy costs through strategies such as improving energy efficiency, lowering operating costs, and providing users with data and information on how to reduce energy consumption through smart grid technologies.
  • Improving reliability of energy systems against environmental, economic, and social shocks through the creation of multiple distribution pathways and alternative electricity sources.
  • Promoting local, renewable energies and reducing fossil fuel consumption through loss minimization associated with energy transmission and encouraging energy efficiency.
Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

PEER advances goal 8 by:

  • Generating job opportunities and economic growth through updates to aging energy infrastructure and promotion of modern, renewable energies.
  • Quantifying the economic, social, and environmental benefits of high-performing electricity systems to identify future financially viable investment opportunities.
  • Implementing financial incentives for residential, commercial, industrial, and other customer classes to pursue sustainability through financing that meets comprehensive criteria.
  • Incorporating workplace safety principles into design and operating standards related to energy generation.
Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

PEER advances goal 9 by:

  • Helping utilities solve aging infrastructure, find cost savings and share best practices.
  • Establishing effective grid management through advanced data collection, monitoring and reporting of power interruption and frequency.
  • Ensuring power is maintained for critical loads and essential services through strategies such as supplying grid power via multiple pathways and providing alternative sources of electricity supply and transfer controls.
  • Managing loads and investing in technologies that capture waste energy, improve efficiency, and lower operating costs, thereby reducing fossil fuel consumption and energy demand.
  • Promoting market instruments such as carbon credits, renewable energy certificates, and energy efficiency incentives that foster innovation and growth.
Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

PEER advances goal 10 by:

  • Empowering customers to provide input into their energy systems through surveys and feedback forms that enable all energy users to communicate their needs.
  • Allowing users to choose preferred generation sources and smart management strategies, fostering inclusion in efficient energy systems.
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

PEER advances goal 11 by:

  • Protecting critical and essential infrastructure such as fire services, sewage, transportation, education, and medical care from climate-related threats and providing power, safety, and shelter to communities in emergencies.
  • Installing distributed energy resources that reduce the environmental consequences of energy generation, transmission and distribution.
Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

PEER advances goal 12 by:

  • Disclosing environmental performance of energy systems and measures enacted to improve performance.
  • Ensuring efficient demand-side management through metering infrastructure, load shifting, and peak demand period reduction.
  • Providing customers with data and information on how to use smart grid technologies to reduce energy consumption.
Goal 13: Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

PEER advances goal 13 by:

  • Hardening power systems against flooding, storms, and other extreme climate events through the implementation of preventative measures and design considerations such as emergency response plans for short-term and extended power interruptions.
  • Supporting carbon neutrality goals through scaleable renewable energy technology and clean energy policy and management.
  • Inspiring engagement with certification programs of industry leading rating systems addressing sustainability, resilience, and reliability in communities and the built environment.
Goal 14: Life below water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

PEER advances goal 14 by:

  • Protecting water-related ecosystems from pollution, over-exploitation, degradation, and acidification through renewable energy technologies and improved source energy, air emissions, water use, and solid waste performance.
Goal 15: Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

PEER advances goal 15 by:

  • Tracking, recording, and disclosing size and type of land used, trees cut or trimmed, and wildlife disturbed during project construction and operation.
  • Determining maximum acceptable noise levels on the property and identifying strategies to reduce them.
  • Implementing policies and programs to reduce pollution, harm, and degradation to the environment and to support the growth of pollinator populations onsite.
Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

PEER advances goal 16 by:

  • Facilitating collaboration and inclusive development between decision-makers, stakeholders, and all those impacted by a project.
  • Promoting participatory and representative decision-making by assessing customers’ attitudes about service quality, analyzing demand characteristics, and providing customers with data and information on how to reduce energy consumption.
  • Providing reliable energy for cooking, air conditioning, heating, and other basic human needs, reducing conflict.
  • Supporting and ensuring cybersecurity and data privacy policies applicable for all customers helping towards peace, safety and security.
Goal 17: Partnership for the goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

PEER advances goal 17 by:

  • Establishing partnerships with public and private entities to encourage innovative technologies that support sustainable development around the globe.