Intersections: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Built Environment

Built Environment Plus’s mission is to drive sustainable and regenerative design, construction and operations of the built environment. We envision a thriving and diverse community, creating a built environment of net positive systems of water and energy, of financial and social equity, and of ecological and human health

As the organization continues to develop and mature, we recognize there is no such thing as “sustainability” without addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. True sustainability requires an ethically-guided building industry that exists in an economy that is fully embedded in an equitable society, which is part of a healthy planet. Such an industry meets the needs of current and future generations. Truly regenerative systems go beyond fixes to the status quo and rely on the inherent worth and wisdom of all stakeholders.

Supporting a diverse network of practitioners who are developing sustainable and regenerative communities that meet this threshold is vital as we transition to a green economy that ensures long-lasting health and prosperity to all. 

Our DEI strategy continues to evolve to meet the moment and lean into the plus in Built Environment Plus, as the built environment intersects with our lives in so many critical ways. The Board of Directors will endeavor, alongside BE+ staff, to thoughtfully align all of our efforts with our mission, vision, and strategic planning process. We will track progress, optimize impact, and inform our planning and our actions.

We aim to highlight the fundamental significance of the built environment in our society,  embrace it as a powerful leverage point for systemic change, and evolve our unique role in this collective journey. BE+ is continuously learning and adapting. We will choose action over inaction, make mistakes as we go, and view every mistake as an opportunity for growth.

WHAT WE DO / DEI in Practice

BE+ is actively working on diversifying who we are in terms of our staff, board of directors, individual members, company members and the people we provide services to as well as examining what we do. In 2022, BE+ hired a DEI consultant to advise the Board Chair and Executive Director on DEI initiatives and to be a resource as needed. This statement reflects a new phase of more robust internal engagement, and will serve as a living document that charts our progress.


BE+ is committed to educating the green building community on how they can design and build truly sustainable buildings for all people. BE+ is committed to increasing the diversity of participants in BE+ education and training.   

Examples of ongoing and past initiatives include:

Training grants

We offer assistance for applying for MA Workforce Training Grants to attend trainings in our robust Green Building Education Program. 50-100% of the training costs may be covered for MA employees. This reduces the barrier to accessing our education offerings.

Educational Offerings

We are actively developing courses related to DEI

We promote ILFI’s Just Label and IWBI’s WELL Equity Rating

We host a Design for People summit focused on the theme of “Green Buildings for All”.

Looking back:

Madison Park Vocational Technical Green Building Education Program – 2018 Greenbuild Legacy project. We helped secure funding with Eversource and shifted the program to Ecorise who has expanded the program to additional schools and continues to train teachers. We have continued the relationship with Ecorise and seek additional collaborations.

In 2019 we hosted the first Design for People conference, which focused on expanding the common understanding of sustainability to include the built environment’s impact on people.


BE+ is committed to assessing research, tools and program needs that will further BE+’s mission including DEI and implementing programs as feasible.

Examples of ongoing and past initiatives include:

Targeted Internship Program

We partner with MassCEC to recruit and match students of color and employers for participation in MassCEC’s Targeted Internship Program to increase the diversity of the clean energy sector.

Net Zero Report

Our MA is Ready for Net Zero and the Cost of Net Zero Reports show that net zero buildings are affordable to build. The studies find that Affordable Housing is leading the way.

MA Net Zero Building Coalition

BE+ is a member of the Net Zero Building Coalition. Members advocate for funding for decarbonizing existing buildings, especially affordable housing.

Supporting Municipalities to Lead the Way:

We convened municipal leaders and staff in a summit geared towards empowering municipalities to make triple-bottom-line decisions towards a net zero carbon future. We produced a procurement toolkit for municipal leaders and others to support them in procuring services for high-performance buildings.


BE+ is committed to increasing the diversity of participants in our community and attending our events. We host events that further all aspects of our mission including diversity, equity and inclusion. BE+ is also committed to expanding the organizations we partner with.

Examples of ongoing and past initiatives include:

Topic Communities

We actively invite a diverse group of featured experts to roundtable discussions in an effort to increase visibility, make introductions to the community and “raise” people up who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

Women in Green

We host a community focused on women in the green building industry.

Emerging Professionals

We host a community focused on welcoming new people to the industry.


We provide accessible entry to virtual and in-person roundtables held by our six thriving topic communities as a great way to begin engaging with the BE+ community. Our current communities are Carbon & Energy, Decarbonize Existing Buildings Alliance, Emerging Professionals, Health & Wellness, Living Future, and Women In Green.  Roundtables are free for the first 3 visits. 

Premier Events

We provide scholarships for all premier events in order to lower barriers to entry. 

Direct outreach to Black owned firms with offers of free event tickets to premier events.

Partner Organizations

We have established relationships with organizations with a DEI focus aligned with our industry including Builders of Color Coalition, Browning the Green Space, National Organization of Minority Architects, National Society of Black Engineers, and Design for Freedom. 

Green Building Awards Program

We include an Equity criteria for all awards in our Green Building Showcase Awards Program. We added an Equity Award Category in 2021.


BE+ is committed to identifying advocacy opportunities and needs that will further BE+’s mission including DEI.

Zero Carbon Renovation Fund Coalition

BE+ is a member of the coalition that proposed a $300 million fund to jumpstart the market for zero carbon renovations in existing buildings in MA. The fund would prioritize affordable housing, public housing, low- and moderate-income homes, schools, BIPOC and women-owned businesses, and buildings located in Environmental Justice communities.

Design for People Summit

BE+ is convening green building practitioners to ask the question how do we build green buildings for all people all of the time? 


BE+ is committed to increasing the diversity of our board, members, participants and staff.

Board Composition 

We created a nominating committee in 2022 with the goal of diversifying BoD. BIPOC BoD representation increased from 1 of 14 in 2022 to 4 of 14 in 2023. Female representation was 11 of 14 in 2022 and 8 of 14 in 2023.


We partnered with the Builders of Color Coalition to offer free BE+ membership to its members. We are exploring providing a Membership discount for BIPOC professionals for the first year.

BE+ requests ethnicity and gender data in membership registration and creates an annual membership report.  BIPOC Membership increased from 8% in 2020 to 12% in 2022.

Companies and People in the BE+ Community

We started to more proactively reach out to more diverse companies and organizations for participation in BE+ events.

We offer event discounts and scholarships to maximize the accessibility of our events.

We provide scholarships to all of our premier events to lower the barrier to participation for BIPOC community members.


Our hiring process prioritizes increasing staff diversity.

We have expanded our outreach and our network in hiring efforts including internships.

We are providing mentorship opportunities for a more diverse staff. 

We are investigating DEI training opportunities for all staff.

We actively foster a culture of communication, inclusion, and belonging.

Our staff is currently 4 of 7 Female and 1 of 7 BIPOC.


This statement is an early step in our journey of addressing the intersections of diversity, equity, and inclusion with the built environment. It will guide our planning, our work, and our strategic decision-making. We look forward to evolving our role, growing our impact, and unleashing the power of our small but mighty community of practitioners to move the industry towards a sustainable and regenerative future for everyone.

Adopted June 2023