Green Buildings (LEED)
Energy Efficient and Sustainable Building Design
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a program from the United States Green Building Council. Green refers to environmentally sensitive and sustainable design and construction. Examples of green initiatives include: minimizing and recycling of construction debris; energy efficient lights, heating, cooling, walls, windows and roofs; low emissions paints, cleaning supplies, solvents, carpets and adhesives; recycling of office waste and electronics; and adjusting purchasing standards.
Many of these initiatives are not only environmentally responsible, they are financially beneficial. These facilities are providing a healthier and more productive environment. The companies that offer such a work environment find they are better able to attract and retain skilled employees, have lower energy bills, have lower water use, gain positive community goodwill, and receive positive media coverage about their environmental stewardship.
LEED certificationis recognized in the United States and many other countries as the green building rating system. The certification allows a facility to demonstrate building sustainability, reduce energy consumption, achieve environmental goals, and promote efficient design all while improving building performance.
LEED credentials distinguish professionals across many disciplines by representing fundamental knowledge of green building and a commitment to sustainability. They serve as a mark of qualification, education and influence, and assure employers, industry peers, policymakers and other stakeholders of an individual's exceptional competencies.
LEED rating systems are available for most every building type:
- New Commercial Construction and Major Renovation projects
- Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance
- Neighborhood Developments
- Commercial Interior projects
- Building Core and shell projects
- Retail Facilities
- Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Buildings
LEED standards, scoring, and guidelines are available for use by architects, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, construction managers, landscapers, as well as building owners and management firms.
Five keys to the success of LEED certification projects include:
- Setting defined environmental goals (waste reduction, recycling, emissions/carbon reduction, reduced energy consumption, reduced water consumption, etc.)
- Set a specific and adequate budget
- Stick to your goals and budget
- Engineer for life-cycle value
- Utilize LEED-accredited professionals
Projects can achieve four levels of certification - Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each level includes greater and greater levels of conservation, resource savings, emissions and indoor air quality, and budget.
For more information on the United States Green Buildings Council and LEED certification: www.usgbc.org
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