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U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

There are standards for assessing green buildings. The best known body for doing this is the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which is made up of over 15,000 organizations throughout the building industry. Its mission is to ensure communities and buildings are constructed responsibly, both socially and environmentally. A major component of the USGBC is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED provides third–party certification that a green building project is environmentally responsible and meets the highest green building and performance standards.

LEED developed the Green Building Rating System which encourages international adoption of sustainable green building and practices. It promotes companies that are interested in becoming eco–friendly through performance criteria and tools. The following are some objectives that LEED aims to fulfill:

  • Encourage green building in neighborhood designs
  • Promote sustainable healthcare facilities
  • Green spaces for schools and retail stores
  • Make existing buildings more green through improvements and maintenance
  • Educate businesses and consumers on the benefits of green–friendly practices

Who Uses LEED?

Over the years, LEED has given building owners, architects, facility managers, engineers and government officials the tools they need to make their operations more sustainable. LEED rates buildings based upon their performance in the 5 following areas:

  1. Materials selection
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Indoor environmental quality
  4. Water savings
  5. Sustainable site development

The Benefits of Getting LEED Certified

Buildings that are certified by LEED can enjoy many financial and environmental benefits. Buildings or projects approved for certification receive a LEED plaque that symbolizes a healthy and safe indoor atmosphere.

Other benefits include:

  • Help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Conserve water
  • Conserve energy
  • Increased asset value
  • Demonstrate owner's dedication to promoting environmental responsibility
  • Reduce landfill waste
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Receive tax rebates and zoning allowances
  • Healthier indoor atmosphere