Posted on September 09, 2010 2:54 PM
LEED in the News
by Amy Talbot
Do you know about LEED? It stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a United States Green Building Council (USGBC) program that defines and quantifies best practice standards for green building projects. Qualified projects receive LEED certification and a plague to showcase their project. In our region, we have over a 100 certified projects, with many more registered and on their way to being certified. Although only one of the many green building programs, LEED is a well-known resource for professionals, governments, and homeowners interested in green building. Solar panels, native landscaping, green roofs, high efficiency toilets are some of the best practices supported by the LEED programs. While the economy is showing signs of slowing, there has been growth in green building projects. Up front LEED generally adds about a 2 percent increase in cost to projects but in the long term can save money for the building owners and conserve water and energy resources.
The city of Chicago itself has been a leader in LEED certified buildings with 124 within the city limits, adding 4 million square feet of green roof space serving as stormwater management and a cooling mechanism to decrease urban heat island. The city also promotes LEED for municipal buildings (current total of 32) with all new buildings constructed since 2004 following LEED standards. In addition the complimentary Green Permit Program incentives contractors to incorporate green building techniques into their plans by offering to save time (through expedited permitting) and money (reduced fees). Incorporating LEED standards for municipal buildings is also practiced in several other locations in the region. Is your community one of them?
Recently, NPR published a two-part series on LEED construction, noting that Green building now accounts for almost a third of all new construction in the U.S. And Grist wrote just this week about how Chicago LEEDs other cities in eco construction (pun absolutely intended).
At CMAP, we have incorporated LEED into both our regional comprehensive GO TO 2040 plan and Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan citing both water and energy savings as the main benefit. For more information visit the USGBC website.