Why understanding LEED is key in retail.
by Chris Moline, LEED AP
The ramifications are monumental, especially if you own a non-LEED building.
On the retail side of the flooring business there has been a considerable amount of confusion regarding the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the LEED rating system. First, the US Green Building Council authored the rating system known as LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in an effort to quantify and recognize high-performance built environments that use less energy and are more “user-friendly”. It’s a complex system that awards points on a rating system by percentages of cost, volume or weight within the project space, relative to the total job scope. It’s tough to dig through, much less convey to someone else. In my field, I’ve even heard of some claims that a certain type of flooring is worth a certain amount of LEED points. This is, in nutshell, a bunch of hooey (that is the technical word). I say this because of the complex nature of how points are awarded that makes it impossible that one product is worth a certain amount of points in and of itself.
The LEED certification system is much more involved, as I know it, and it recently underwent a significant revamp to v3. As a LEED Accredited Professional, I’ve had the chance to educate many clients. But I hope the following from the USGBC website helps:
“The LEED Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Who uses LEED?
Architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, lenders and government officials all use LEED to help transform the built environment to sustainability. State and local governments across the country are adopting LEED for public-owned and public-funded buildings; there are LEED initiatives in federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Energy, and State; and LEED projects are in progress in 41 different countries, including Canada, Brazil, Mexico and India.
How is LEED Developed?
LEED Rating Systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees. Each volunteer committee is composed of a diverse group of practitioners and experts representing a cross-section of the building and construction industry. The key elements of USGBC’s consensus process include a balanced and transparent committee structure, technical advisory groups that ensure scientific consistency and rigor, opportunities for stakeholder comment and review, member ballot of new rating systems, and a fair and open appeals process.”
For more information, click here to visit the Green Building Council website.
All the best,