The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system made a landmark achievement yesterday: it certified its 10,000th commercial green building project. The LEED rating system has been in place since 1998, and the number of LEED certified buildings has been growing ever since.
The purpose of the LEED system is to rate buildings according to energy and environmental standards. Buildings must fulfill certain prerequisites in order to be considered for the rating, and they receive points for accomplishing certain environmental standards. The number of points a building receives determines whether or not it is certified Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
Although one may think such stringent regulation would turn-off many developers, clearly the program has achieved some success. Despite being based in the United States, the LEED system has projects in 120 different countries, with 45% of new floor area coming in from international projects. Clearly its increasingly international scope has accelerated growth in the LEED certifications.
US Green Building Council (USGBC) President CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi stated that â€œten thousand commercial certified buildings stand as a powerful example that a strong triple bottom line translates to real, tangible success.â€
And LEED certified buildings do have many benefits other than being more sustainable for the environment. For starters, they get to display its prestigious LEED certification, but according to the founder of LEED, Rob Watson â€œLEED buildings are better buildings â€“ environmentally and economically.â€
For instance, the recently built ultra-green building the Bullitt Centre consumes only as much energy as it can generate itself, thus reducing its electricity bills to virtually zero.
Not only do LEED certified buildings save money in energy savings, research shows they often make workers happier and more productive.
Yet despite the LEED programâ€™s considerable accomplishments, Watson believes there is still a lot to be done. He argues that â€œin order to make a measurable dent on the survivability of the human race, LEED needs to be accelerated tenfold.â€
What do you think about the LEED rating system? Is it effective in promoting the widespread construction of green buildings? Are there any ways to improve its effectiveness?
Image CC licensed by National Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Asia’s first LEED Platinum rated building, The CII-Godrej Green Business Center in Hyderabad.