Today’s output from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute’s state-of-the-art HEMMED (High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector) machine are green buildings LEEDing to a better environment.

This morning I read an article in my local newspaper about an area office building that had received LEED Platinum Certification. I knew a little about LEED after having done some research on it when our community was building a new school but some of the things in the story made me go to my Googles to learn more.

Just what is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

The U.S. Green Building Council is the organization responsible for certifying LEED buildings. According to their web site, 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system, comprising over 4.5 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries. This is their focus and their vision:

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

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The building that caught my eye was this one: University Bay Drive.

Here are its green specs:
1. High-efficiency heating and cooling system
2. Locally sourced and green building materials
3. Green roof
4. Rain garden
5. Sunshades
6. Rainwater collection system providing non-potable water.
7. Native landscape plantings
8. Underground parking to mitigate heat-island effect

LEED certification can be expensive because it is more than just one or two green things. It is a total commitment to the principles of the USGBC. But many of the building techniques can be utilized even if certification is not the ultimate goal.

For example, green roofs, also called living roofs, absorb rainwater, provide insulation, and help to lower overall urban air temperatures to mitigate the heat island effect. The roof of Chicago’s City Hall is green.

Living Roof - City Hall Chicago

Rainwater harvesting systems can gather rainwater for use by the building. At my house, we use rain barrels to capture roof run-off that can be used to water plants and trees. In a commercial system, the rainwater harvesting can be used for toilet flushing as well as for watering.

It would be great to see more of these things in our new construction and our renovation projects. Not just to get LEED but to take a lead in moving us towards a better future.

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Happy Thursday to everyone and fist bumps!

The BPI Campus Progressive agenda:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

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