LEED Certification by Guest Blogger, January 20 2009, 0 Comments

Copyright: ponsulak / 123RF Stock Photo

Industrial facilities contribute more environmental pollution and harm than any other type of building structure. Pollution is also generated from our home and officeswhether we live in apartments or houses or whether we work in a skyscraper or small office building downtown, we all contribute. The residential sector uses a shocking 74% of the total water and 22% of the total electricity, and produces 21% of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the US. Even excluding industrial facilities, our buildings are responsible for 65% of the waste produced in the U.S.

These statistics, however, need not motivate you to move out of your home and start living in a tent. Recognizing the huge potential for improvement in this arena, the U.S. Green Buildings Council created a program to encourage the construction of more environmentally friendly buildings. This program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), consists of resource categories—such as sustainable sites, water efficiency, and energy and atmosphere—within which a developer can earn points for meeting certain criteria. The building can then be awarded LEED certification, either Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum, based on the sum of the points earned in the green construction. Though this program is optional, many developers realize the importance of sustainable construction and are taking advantage of the support and prestige that LEED offers. The program can even be considered for the construction or major renovation of individual homes.

As resources become scarcer and the threat of climate change grows, LEED certification represents the type of thinking that will help move society forward on a more sustainable path. For these reasons, consider supporting businesses that reside in LEED certified buildings, and encourage friends and family to consider LEED when looking to buy a new home. It is also worth following the LEED program when doing renovations on your home. Even if the renovation is too minor to qualify for full certification, LEED can serve as a helpful guide to sustainable options for your home.

For another great resource, check out the National Resource Defense Council's Building Green from Principle to Practice.

Guest Blogger: Jessie Mee