Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- Overview
What is LEED?
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, is a certification designed by the United States Green Building Council, a non-profit NGO, to rate the environmental impact and performance of a building and development. Designed in 1998, and backed by federal law under the Green Building Act since 2007, LEED is recognized as the most commonly used benchmark for evaluating the environmental sustainability of an architecture and/or urban-regional design.
LEED aims to promote a positive impact on the environment by specifically targeting buildings and urban development to comply with green building standards. It is a fact that in the past, the raw materials and energy used to construct these buildings and developments have been wasteful and inefficient. The unearthing of the land, the production of waste products harmful to the atmosphere, and disruption of the existing ecology and wildlife reduces the quality of the environment. It is subsequently enjoyed by its immediate residents and then future generations, which is why it is impertinent to invest in its sustainability.
An alarming public health study suggests that it is possible that nearly half of the energy consumption in America is produced by construction. This excessive use of energy is caused by the tearing down and reconstructing of new buildings. If we were to build longer-lasting, more sustainable buildings, we would be using and saving energy more efficiently, we would be reducing costs, and we would be promoting health and safety. Encouraging the construction of these “green buildings” is what the USGBC will be regulating through LEED in these five areas: (1) material inventory, (2) water usage, (3) energy efficiency, (4) site sustainability, and (5) indoor environmental quality.
How LEED works
The USGBC regulates the participants of LEED by approving the issuance of building permits, certifications and verifications. Participants’ buildings are rated according to the LEED standard, and are given points for adhering to it. Buildings that exceed the standard in their performance rating receive project statuses of silver, gold or platinum. The LEED point system is as follows:
The LEED certification is not just limited to buildings, but also big commercial buildings, public buildings, and urban development, such as neighborhoods. It is estimated that building a gold-rated school can save taxpayers half a million dollars a year. If one school can save that much money, think of how much money the city could save by having a neighborhood comply with LEED.
Much of the neighborhoods in the rest of the world are designed where the residents don’t need to drive to get what they need or reach a local destination. Considering this problem and population density in U.S. neighborhoods, if neighborhoods were designed in compliance with LEED, then we would be producing more efficient residencies.
LEED News Feed- Recent Green Building News
Revisions to LEED Policies Improve Organization
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) first launched in 1998 and has since been the standard rating system for green and environmental sustainable building projects. Since LEED’s inception, it has undergone a couple revisions, most recently its third revision that makes its building guidelines more grounded in science, facilitates membership, and tightens accreditation for becoming a LEED fellow.
LEED Initiative Motivates Furniture Industry
LEED’s popularity and promotion for greener building techniques has inspired related industries to follow in suit. Just this week, the commercial furniture industry trade association, BIFMA International, launched Level, a new certification for rating the environmental sustainability in the construction of furniture.