LEEDing the Way

By this point I have had several sustainability classes, and other lectures that at least tied sustainability into design methods.  So I would really hope, and assume, that everyone knows what LEED is and what the programs purpose is.

To be safe, LEED was a program developed by the U.S. Green Building to provide verification of green buildings.  LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, “addresses the entire lifecycle of a building, and is transforming the way built environments are designed, constructed, and operated.”  They are a voluntary program aiming to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and water, lower operating costs, and promote a healthier built environment.  LEED has four levels of certification:  Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  These certifications are given through a point system, which is approved by members of the USGBC and even available to the public (helpful for class projects).

More or less the LEED program shows to the public what some people are doing to be more sustainable.  Along with that, I think it also helps educate people on sustainability.  Because these buildings are labeled with their LEED certification “stamps” people take notice and may become more interested in the program as the move forward.

This is why I believe that LEED is a good stepping stone to the future.  Not to take anything away from LEED, because it is a very positive program.  But what if we move  beyond being environmentally conscious and harming the environment less, but actually start doing positive things for it?  Things like Zero EnergyBuilding, are becoming increasingly discussed and will hopefully transform our society from “doing better” to “doing good”.


One comment

  1. shiha003

    While LEED is a great program that is known and used worldwide, it seems to cater to large scale projects and can really only be followed by designers that have taken extensive training. Have you ever wondering if there is a different green building program out there that seems more user friendly? Well there is, and it caters towards smaller and remodeling projects, specifically in Minnesota and surrounding areas. This green building program is called Minnesota GreenStar.
    Minnesota GreenStar describes themselves as, “a residential building standards and certification program created by Minnesotans for Minnesotans”. The whole-systems approach that Minnesota GreenStar takes on highlights five key ideas pertaining to green building. These focuses are in resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, water conservation, site and community, energy efficiency, as well as integrating the eight traditional building processes.
    While this program may not be as well known as LEED even in the Twin Cities area, the passion that drives this program is incredible. I had the privilege of being able to attend the day long training to become Minnesota GreenStar certified, and during this training, the presenter never seem to waiver from her passion for green design. And green design is not even their number one focus, but it is instead the health and safety of the house for its users. A standard procedure on the Minnesota GreenStar check-list is for every home to be tested for Radon, and if Radon is present, it must be addressed with.
    Having a program that is more concern with the users health and safety over that of the building and green processes seem a bit comforting and I would say definitely Midwestern. Like Michael Anschel said in today’s AIAS meeting, the Earth will fix its self and will be here for a long time, it is the humans that we need to focus on a help; and that is exactly what Minnesota GreenStar can do, by making the program user friendly and having a strong focus on the health of the user.


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