In my last post I mentioned I had the opportunity to visit an environmentally-friendly “platinum” building. Today I will explain what that term means.
The U.S. Green Buildings Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building program notes buildings that are the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly places to work in the United States.
LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. It recognizes and measures building performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
The LEED® Rating System (from the AGC of America website – http://www.agc.org/)
LEED certification is based on a point system. The amount of points achieved will determine which level of LEED certification the project is awarded. There are 69 possible points and four certification levels. Basic LEED Certification requires 26 to 32 points; LEED Certified Silver Level requires 33 to 38 points; LEED Certified Gold Level requires 39 to 51 points; and LEED Certified Platinum Level requires 52 to 69 points.
USGBC organizes the available points for LEED certification into five broad categories. Below is a list of the categories and examples of required and possible points for each of the categories. USGBC also provides an optional sixth category for innovation and design process.
- Sustainable Sites (14 possible points total): Erosion and Sedimentation Control (required point); Site Selection (1 point); Urban Redevelopment (1 point); etc.
- Water Efficiency (5 possible points total): Water Efficient Landscaping, Reduce by 50% (1 point); Innovative Wastewater Technologies (1 point); Water Use Reduction, 20% Reduction (1 point); etc.
- Energy and Atmosphere (17 possible points total): Fundamental Building Systems Commissioning (required point); Minimum Energy Performance (required point); CFC Reduction in HVAC&R Equipment (required point); Renewable Energy, 20% (1 point); etc.
- Materials and Resources (13 possible points total): Storage and Collection of Recyclables (required point); Building Reuse, Maintain 75% of Existing Shell (1 point); Construction Waste Management, Divert 50% (1 point); etc.
- Indoor Environmental Quality (15 possible points total): Minimum IAQ Performance (required point); Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control (required point); Ventilation Effectiveness (1 point); Low–Emitting Materials, Adhesives & Sealants (1 point); etc.
- Innovation and Design Process (5 possible points total): Innovations in Design, Provide Specifics (1 to 4 points) and LEED® Accredited Professional (1 point).