‘Green living’ doesn’t just mean buying organic or using eco-friendly dish soap. Today, you’ve got to move into a LEED-rated building to go the full ten yards. But what is LEED, and how is it measured?
In the simplest terms, LEED is the framework that designers use to build at the highest standards of green construction. That is to say, developers adopt the LEED standards to create the cleanest possible environment for green living. This means homes, offices, factories–you name it.
The acronym LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”, and was brought about by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998. With LEED’s own ‘badges of approval’, builders are incentivized to weave eco-technology into their designs, and show off their green status.
So, how does the ranking work? Well, you might have heard the terms “LEED Gold” or “LEED Certified” being tossed around–but it’s actually pretty easy to understand how they derive each rank. It’s all based on a 100-point system that pulls from seven categories, five being most heavily weighted:
From these categories are subcategories–basically a checklist of LEED standards. Some of these LEED standards are being required for any certification (like ‘water use reduction’), while others are left to pick and choose (offering points for developing on a brownfield, or providing on-site renewable energy).
Once the points are tabulated–out come the medals: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and uh…LEED Certified. But these labels are more of a medallion than just a nod of approval. Knowing you live or work in a LEED certified building means the purest environment for green living and a healthy lifestyle. It means a green building that is set to operate at low-costs, with little impact, over its entire lifetime–from pouring the foundation to the building’s demolition.