The LEED System
The LEED system is designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional and residential buildings. It is based on accepted energy and environmental principles and strikes a balance between known established practices and emerging concepts. The rating system evaluates environmental performance from a whole building perspective over a building's life cycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a green building.
There are four levels of certification and the level of certification is based upon the number of points awarded a project by the USGBC: LEED certified, Silver Level, Gold Level, and Platinum Level. Learn more at the US Green Building Council LEED Website.
Buildings contribute 50-70% of greenhouse gases in urban areas. Building standards have certainly improved - new buildings use 25% less energy than old buildings on average - but the typical new building is nowhere near as efficient as it could be. We also spend over 90% of our time in buildings, so making them quality environments in which to work, live, and study is critical to our health.
Green Design significantly reduces the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants. It addresses topics such as sustainable site planning, water efficiency, energy efficiency, conservation of materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
The benefits of Green Design include:
- Reduced operating costs
- Optimized life-cycle economic performance and improved productivity
- Reduced absenteeism and turnover by providing a healthy workplace and improving employee satisfaction
- Reduced liability and improved risk management practices