The Importance of Taking the “LEED”

This summer, Business Facilities is devoting a lot of editorial coverage to businesses going green; our June cover story will look at location trends among green-technology companies. Also, our July annual rankings report will highlight the 20 greenest states in America based on comprehensive analysis of nine criteria, one of which is number of LEED-certified buildings by state.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building certification program is a feature-oriented rating system that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria. On May 15, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) testified before Congress about the importance of LEED-certified projects.

“Buildings are the single largest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, accounting for 39% of emissions in the U.S. Of those buildings, school buildings represent the largest construction sector in the country and 20% of America goes to school every day,” says Michelle Moore, senior VP, Policy and Public Affairs for USGBC. “It’s fundamental to promote the design and construction of green schools, which play a tremendous role in bettering the health and performance of our students and children. Every new building coming out of the ground today should built green and every existing building should be retrofitted, whether it is an office building, a school, or your own home. Buildings offer an immediate, measurable solution for mitigating climate change, and we don’t have time to wait.”

Currently, 12 federal agencies or departments, 28 states, more than 120 local governments, 12 public school jurisdictions, and 36 higher education institutions have made policy commitments to use or encourage LEED ratings. Many states even offer incentives to businesses looking to go green.