"LEEDS Building" or "LEEDS Home".
The correct term is "LEED" not Leeds or LEEDs.
by David Rodriguez
Ok...you had heard the term for sure if you are involved in the architectural
design and construction industry. But even then, it's still pronounced wrong
by many well meaning people in those industries as a "Leeds building" or
"LEEDs Home". The correct term is "LEED" not Leeds or LEEDs. It stands for
Leadership in Energy  and Environmental Design and is a product of the
US Green Building Council ( USGBC ), one of the largest, national consensus
based non-profit organizations  in the country. So now we have the correct
pronunciation LEED.....now let's add to that,  LEED green building rating system.

OK lets define green  ( also referred to as “sustainable “ but we will stick with
green for this article ) and some other terms so we are all thinking on the same
page as you read this. ( This will also help better understand what LEED is all
about , later on ). They are varied definitions of green, but I will give you my
architectural version as related to the “built environment” ( built environment ….
that’s a fancy architectural term for a man made constructed enclosure, such
as a building or home that may, or may not have artificial circulating air …
most commonly called “heating and air conditioning”….built environment..got it..).
So a green building or home can be defined defined as a structure that is
designed, built, constructed, operated, renovated, maintained or reused in an
ecological and resource efficient manner.

The aim of a green building or home is to provide a variety of one or more of
the following benefits: to protect occupant health by providing improved indoor
air quality ( less people get sick that way  and employers like that when people
show up for work ), to improve employee productivity or student performance.
This happens when good clean filtered fresh air is introduced into a building or
home thru out the day and the buildup of CO2 ( what we exhale…carbon dioxide)
is now under control. It’s amazing what an employee can get done at work or a
student at school when that feeling of sleepiness is eliminated because CO2 levels
are being watched and monitored by new clean fresh air when needed ( and we
don’t even know it , or think about!! ). That’s called employee comfort…and when
an employee feels comfortable at work ( here’s the good part ) …they are more
likely to perform better and less likely to seek another job ( that’s down time for
an employer to have employer turnover…not good ). OK are you getting the
picture so far, as it gets even better.

A green building or home is also ( or should be…. ) designed to be energy efficient
( lower utility bills ) , water efficient ( lower water bills ) and be efficient ( there’s that
word again ) in the materials that are used to construct the building or home.
This means use local materials whenever possible and those that contain recycled
content in them. Recycling is a good green practice whether for constructing a
building or home or for application at home or at work. In this case, when the left
over scrap of unwanted woods or, metals or stones or concrete or whatever is left
over when finished…do not ( I mean do not !!) put them for disposal in a landfill.
Most of the materials used for the construction of the “built environment” ( there’s
that word again ) can now be recycled,  and if not recycled,  it can be diverted !!.
Diverted means it can be used for something else like old tires now used as a
playground swing seat. Now that’s a green application.

So what is the LEED rating system ? It’s a true 3rd party verification system that has
a set of standards or metrics that determines and defines a baseline ( you have to
start somewhere ) on how “green “ a new or existing building is  or how green a new
home is,  in several categories that I mentioned earlier.  These standards are consensus
based, not just randomly thought out by a few people on the east or west coast.
Consensus based means the USGBC brought together, architects, engineers,
contractors,  interior designers, landscape architects, scientist, building owners,
educators, lawyers, accountants, building engineers , property managers, city
planners, home builders and so forth from across the county to form technical
advisory groups to put together this set of standards that took several years to do.
The LEED rating system has been revised several times since 1998 and continues
to be revised today by these same technical teams. It’s not perfect, but green
performance standards have to start somewhere.

Ok that’s LEED in a nut shell… I would be glad to answer any of your questions or
comments and can be reached on my e-mail david@warearchitecture.com.

( David Rodriguez, LEED AP ,Founder at Rodriguez Consulting & Design
Mr. Rodriguez provides sustainable consulting to a variety of clients and welcomes
your comments. He is the past 2008, Chairman of the Board of Directors for  the
North Texas US Green Building Council )

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