WHAT IS LEED?
LEED certification is a recognition that a construction project or building can attain by utilizing environmentally friendly building practices during construction or remodeling. LEED is the acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the Green Building Rating System developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The model was developed in 1998 to encourage environmental awareness amongst government agencies, architects, engineers, developers, and builders.
LEED certification can be attained on four different levels, which are determined by a credit, or point, system. The levels of LEED certification are Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. A building or project can attain LEED certification by submitting an application that documents compliance with the requirements set for in the LEED rating system. The Green Building Council issues LEED certification upon satisfactory application, review and compliance verification. There are fees associated with LEED certification.
While design and construction of buildings have used environmentally friendly practices in the past, LEED was developed to provide a streamlined set of building standards. The government has worked to model sustainable green building by achieving certification on many of its state buildings. In order to increase the number of new and redeveloped buildings eligible for LEED certification, the government also offers many incentives within the building industry, including grant funding and tax breaks based on the level of LEED certification attained.
LEED professional accreditation is also attainable by individuals, contractors, project managers, and other industry professionals. Professional accreditation demonstrates that an individual or company is well-versed in the LEED system and can work with other individuals and developers to oversee the building process and follow guidelines to attain LEED certification.
Some of the practices utilized or observed for LEED certification include the use of recycled material, eliminating or reducing the amount of waste leaving a job site, re-using existing material, using sustainable green building material, and using low-emitting materials such as caulk and sealers.
LEED certification can be achieved in both new construction, as well as renovations. The City of Chicago, led by its Mayor, The Honorable Richard M. Daley, has made significant headway in this industry and is considered one of the Greenest Cities in the United States. Mayor Daley has set a very aggressive Green development agenda which encourages professionals to design, construct and renovate in ways that promote a healthy environment, reduce operating costs and conserve energy and natural resources.
Chicagoland sites of interest:
Jewel-Osco Seeks LEED® Certification for First Green Store
Gurnee, IL Chipotle Among First LEED® Certified Restaurants in the US
First LEED® Gold Certified Police Building in US: Orland Park Police Station