LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000 and is an internationally-recognized green building certification system.

What does LEED do?

According to USGBC, “LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. The LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees, diverse groups of volunteers representing a cross-section of the building and construction industry. Key elements of the 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 fair and open appeals.”

What buildings does LEED work with?

LEED can be applied to either commercial or residential building types and may even be used as a framework for urban planning and design through the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system.

What LEED rating systems are there?

LEED’s rating systems include:

– LEED for New Construction (NC)
– LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EB: O&M)
– LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI)
– LEED for Core & Shell (CS)
– LEED for Schools (SCH)
– LEED for Retail
– LEED for Healthcare (HC)
– LEED for Homes
– LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND)

Each rating system uses a different, specific approach tailored to the type of building it focuses on to measure the sustainability of a project or existing building.

For more information on the LEED green building rating systems, visitUSGBC.org.

LEED Professional Credentials

In addition to the range of certification systems for green buildings, LEED also offers a highly regarded credentialing system for green building professionals. LEED professional credentials are administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

LEED Green Associate

The LEED Green Associate is the entry level LEED credential for professionals interested in learning about the fundamentals of green building and the LEED rating systems.

Earning the LEED Green Associate, often referred to as LEED GA, requires passing a computerized multiple choice exam. There are certain eligibility requirements for taking the LEED GA exam, and options for becoming eligible, which we have written about here.

It is a requirement to pass the LEED Green Associate exam before advancing to the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) credential.


The LEED AP credential is an advanced LEED credential which specifically focuses professionals on learning the ins and outs of one of the particular LEED rating systems listed above.

The LEED AP exam is a much more rigorous exam. The exam requires a lot of memorization and knowledge of specific detailed aspects of a LEED rating system. Indeed, some people have compared it to passing the bar exam.

Approaches to studying for the LEED GA and LEED AP exams differ. For people with experience working on a LEED project, it is possible to take both exams on the same day. However, it is recommended that people take the exams separately to maximize their chances for success. We have covered tips on passing the LEED AP exam here.

LEED Fellow

The LEED Fellow is the most prestigious professional designation. According to GBCI, the designation was developed to honor and recognize distinguished LEED APs who have made a significant contribution to the field of green building and sustainability at a regional, national, or international level. To earn this designation a person must be nominated by their peers. Once a person is nominated, they will be evaluated along for or five “mastery levels” including:

– Technical Proficiency
– Education and Mentoring
– Leadership
– Commitment and Service
– Advocacy

The recent British Council conference, Buildings of Today and Tomorrow’s Reality, gave us a few useful tips when designing and building energy-efficient, sustainable buildings. Here are 23 things to do when designing green buildings…

Did you know that 72 percent of total electricity, 39 percent of total energy and 14 percent of total water consumption take place in buildings? The buildings we live in and work in are also responsible for 28 percent of the CO2 emissions and 30 percent of total waste.

That’s why green buildings are becoming the new trend for a greener, sustainable and energy-efficient world. The recent conference “Buildings of Today and Tomorrow’s Reality,” held by the British Council and the Ministry of Public Works and Settlements’ General Directorate of Construction Affairs, showed us that there are more than a few ways to save energy when designing your green building.

Experts, architects and designers shared a few hints for green buildings. Make sure to use the following:

  1. Spectrally-selective glasses,
  2. Light pipes for lighting,
  3. R410 gas, one of the most environment friendly coolants, as coolant for water,
  4. Floor heating for wet areas,
  5. CO2 sensors to check the return air in air conditioning,
  6. Self-insulated polyurethane ducts to eliminate leakage and for assuring hygienic conditions,
  7. Solar panels on roofs for electricity,
  8. Wind turbines for extra electricity,
  9. Solar collectors for hot water supply,
  10. Ground source heat pump for getting maximum use of the constant soil temperature underground for hot water in winter and cold water in summer,
  11. Frequency control in pumps and fans for minimising energy,
  12. Daylight tubes for transferring outside daylight to interior spaces,
  13. Energy analysers for monitoring total power consumption,
  14. Waterless urinals,
  15. Vegetation native to the area with minimum water requirement when landscaping,
  16. Thermal insulation on the roof and the walls for minimising heat gain and loss,
  17. Triple-glazing of the windows for heat loss and external noise reduction,
  18. Ice storage during the night when the electricity cost is the lowest to be used during the day for cooling,
  19. Multi-sensors sensitive to daylight and motion for the control of lighting switches,
  20. A time-based programme for the lighting system,
  21. A second piping system for the reuse of grey water for toilets,
  22. Drip irrigation system with the collection of rainwater, and
  23. Heat stored in concrete and heat from computers for air conditioning

Source: britishcouncilblogs.org

Demand For Certified Lumber, Recycled Content Concrete, Green Floor Coverings, And Other Efficient Fixtures Will See Double-Digit Growth Through 2015.

International business research company The Freedonia Group released an industry forecast detailing the growth of demand for green building materials through 2015. According to the report, U.S. demand for green building materials (products which can contribute to LEED credits) will expand 13% annually through 2015, generating sales of more than $70 billion.

The report is entitled “Green Building Materials,” and is available for purchase on the company’swebsite. It predicts that the demand for green building materials will outpace the growth of building construction expenditures. While this demand will support gains in the construction market, a bigger driver will be the expected rebound in the construction market after low 2010 levels.

Among green building materials, the fastest growing product will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified lumber and wood panels. The largest value gains will be seen in concrete products with recycled content, not only because their use will reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills, but because the concrete itself often performs better than traditional concrete. Green floor coverings (including Green Label Plus-certified) account for almost 25% of total market in 2010 and are expected to increase at a double-digit rate annually through 2015.

Efficient plumbing and lighting fixtures are also expected to post double-digit gains through 2015. This is due to improved efficiency, environmental concern, increases in building codes, and the rebound in the construction market.

The report analyzes historical market demand and forecasts for 2015 and 2020 by product, market, and region. The study also considers market environment factors, assesses the industry structure, evaluates company market share, and profiles 39 U.S. companies.

View a summary of the study (PDF).

Source: Consulting Specifying Engineer Mag



The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named its top ten sustainable, green buildings for 2010.

The shortlisted developments include the new Research Support Facility at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a school in Greensburg, Kansas rebuilt after a tornado and an addition to Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin.

The AIA judging panel said the NREL facility, which aims to be net zero-energy, is both a ‘challenge to the building industry’ and a ‘blueprint’ for future low-energy developments.

Also making it onto the rankings is the world’s first LEED Platinum convention centre in Vancouver, Canada, which boasts the country’s largest green roof spanning 6 acres and comprising around 400,000 indigenous plants.

The building also features a heating and cooling system supplied by sea water heat pumps, which are powered by hydroelectricity.

Other ranked projects include two housing projects and a school in California, a dilapidated warehouse in Austin, Texas transformed into office space, a waste water treatment plant in Olympia, Washington and an LEED Platinum house in Racine on the edge of Lake Michigan.

For further information:

Related stories:
US architects name top ten green buildings (21-Apr 2009)
Top 10 US green buildings named (7-May 2008)

Source: Energyefficiencynews.com


Green architecture, also called sustainable building, isn’t complicated and doesn’t require expensive or unusual materials. Houses, offices and schools can be built using locally produced materials in a way that isn’t high-tech. Buildings consume 30 percent of our fresh water and 25 percent of all of our wood products, so it makes sense to practice green architecture and save our resources.

  1. Heliostats

    • Heliostats are an arrangement of mirrors that use preprogrammed sequencing software to track the sun. The mirrors reflect sunlight from a large roof-mounted circular tracking mirror to a secondary mirror or mirrors, and is then directed inside a building. The sunlight looks as if it’s provided by electrical means. Architects have only lately begun using the mirrors as light and energy sources since the cost of machining specialty optics has come down in price.

    Green Roofing

    • A roof can and should do more than just keep the rain out. Architects today can design roofs to collect water for gardens, supply energy for electricity and even be a habitat for plants and animals. Solar roofing, also called a photovoltaic system, can provide an infinitely renewable source of energy. A solar roof can be used to charge batteries for use on cloudy days or as a back-up electricity source.

    Passive Solar

    • Your entire home can be designed to make use of the sun’s energy. A passive solar home doesn’t use any type of mechanical devices like pumps or fans to move the solar heat; instead it’s built to take advantage of your local climate. The size, location and glazing of windows are a major component in collecting and storing solar energy. Roof overhangs and placement of trees or other shading devices like awnings help prevent excessive heat buildup inside the home.

    Earth-Sheltered Homes

    • Earth-sheltered homes are not considered as radical as they once were; they’re increasingly seen as energy-efficient, comfortable and weather-resistant homes. In an earth-shelter designed home, temperatures are more stable and therefore more comfortable. Because an earth-sheltered home is largely surrounded by earth, it needs less maintenance than a traditional home; painting and caulking aren’t necessary. With earth-sheltered homes, moisture penetration can be a problem, and the initial construction costs can be higher.

      Source: eHow Catherine Lugo, eHow Contributor updated: April 01, 2011

Robert Gluck | Advocates are challenging the global building sector to cut the carbon footprint of concrete and other products by 30% by 2014, and 50% by 2030. Edward Mazria, the American architect behind the influential 2030 Challenge to zero out fossil fuel use from all buildings, is turning to a new target: carbon-heavy construction materials. The “2030 Challenge for Products,” unveiled in February, challenges the global building community to cut the carbon footprint of concrete and other building materials by 50 percent by 2030, with an interim target of 30 percent beyond the average by 2014.

Executives eager to get their newly “green” products to market faster are embracing the effort.

“Moving these products into the marketplace has been difficult,” said Jeff Davis, an executive at  Houston, Texas-based U.S. Concrete, a maker of ready-mix concrete that has developed a product with a 30 percent lower carbon dioxide footprint. “Hopefully, the 2030 Challenge for Products will accelerate this process, challenging designers and specifiers to accept the advancements in concrete technology.”

Mazria, executive director of the nonprofit Architecture 2030, says the initiative builds on his 2030 Challenge, launched five years ago. That push was adopted by some of the sector’s biggest forces, including the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and was endorsed by President Obama, the nation’s mayors and many governors.

So far, supporters of the new challenge include some obvious allies: The Green Standard, Southface Green Building Services, BuildingGreen and the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a collaboration of construction and design firms.

Kathrina Simonen, an architect and structural engineer involved with CLF, told SolveClimate News that the effort will “leverage a significant established network to motivate action.”

The premise behind both 2030 challenges is that the world has just 20 years to cut energy consumption from the building sector to levels needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

Each year in the United States, buildings consume nearly 50 percent of total energy and contribute 47 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions. Most power use is in operations — lighting, heating and cooling. About 5 to 8 percent of yearly energy consumption comes from building materials and construction.

However, when the full lifecycle of the sector is considered — from manufacturing and transporting the products to constructing and operating the building for two decades — the percentages shift, says Mazria.

“About 60 percent of the total energy a new building would use over 20 years is for building operations,” he told SolveClimate News, “and about 40 percent is the materials in the building.”

Initiative to Impact All Product Manufacturing?

Experts say that cutting carbon emissions from building materials requires green improvements in three sectors: Factories must adopt more-efficient manufacturing processes and cleaner energy generation; transport must be cleaner-burning; and buildings must be built for low-carbon building products.The hope is that these changes could trickle across the entire manufacturing industry, said Francesca Desmarais, director of the 2030 Challenge for Products.

“That’s why we decided to look at taking on and addressing the building products, because it will also influence the entire product manufacturing sector,” she told SolveClimate News.

“Going forward [with the products challenge] will have a positive rippling effect,” Mazria said. “Once you start looking at this entire process, you begin to see things that you never even imagined.”

They also sought to speed and streamline efforts underway.

“Many people were doing good work in the product sector, but they were moving at a snail’s pace because of the complexity and variety,” Desmarais said. “We’re doing this to coalesce the movement and to get moving quicker.”

‘We’ll Know in 12 to 24 Months’ How Well It’s Working

Architecture 2030 set down benchmarks and developed protocols and standards to meet its carbon-reduction targets of 30 percent below each product’s average through 2014, increasing to 35 percent in 2015, 40 percent in 2020, 45 percent in 2025, and 50 percent by 2030.

But how exactly will the complex carbon footprints of building products be calculated? Mazria said it took a year to decide.

Initially, there were two options — “cradle-to-gate” impacts, from mining of the raw materials through transportation and manufacturing, and “cradle-to-grave,” which counts post-manufacturing greenhouse gas emissions, through installation of the product, covering all the energy used before it heads to the trash bin.

According to Mazria: “We had all sorts of discussions with industry experts on what this should be and decided on cradle-to-grave as the benchmark.”

“The industry is supportive now that they know what they’re counting,” Desmarais said. “Ours is a holistic approach, and as the entire sector coalesces around the benchmarks, we’ll know in 12 to 24 months how well everyone is moving in the same direction.”

Industry Not Keeping Up with Advancements

Some experts say that just making environmental impacts of building materials known is a fundamental first step in stoking demand for climate-friendly products.

Without that demand, “manufacturers will not even invest in the research required, nor publish the results” on the CO2 associated with their products, said Simonen of the Carbon Leadership Forum.

Simonen says her research is focused on the carbon accounting of concrete. She develops models that help ready-mix plants to compute and report the footprints of their different mixes. “Concrete is a unique material,” she said. “Its composition is to a great degree specified by structural engineers, and thus the design team can directly impact the manufacturing processes.”

Producing cement, the main ingredient of concrete, accounts for as much as 5 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide.

Davis of U.S. Concrete said some of his firm’s recent projects have been manufactured using new technology that can cut the product’s carbon footprint in half by adding fly ash, slag and natural pozzolans into the mix, among other changes.

So far, though, industry hasn’t been able “to modify or change specifications at the same rate of technology advancements,” Davis said, though he’s hopeful Mazria’s challenge will change this.

Project to Generate ‘Transparent Carbon Info’

Also on board is the Healthy Building Network (HBN), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks health impacts of the country’s buildings.

The network’s Pharos Project provides environmental information on a range of materials such as paint, carpet, flooring, acoustic ceilings and insulation.

Tom Lent, policy director for the organization, told SolveClimate News that the 2030 Challenge will expand HBN’s work as evaluator of building products.

“HBN has long been concerned about the significance of climate change emissions in the building product manufacturing sector,” Lent said. “But a lack of useful data and consistent guidelines for carbon calculations has hampered efforts to assess [products’] carbon footprints.

“This initiative has the potential to generate the type of credible and transparent carbon information needed to fill an important gap in our understanding.”

However, he warned: “[It] will be critical to make sure that carbon improvements do not come through the use of toxic materials at the cost of human health.”

content by SolveClimateBy Guest Writer at SolveClimate Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:30pm EDT

With the advent of increasingly innovative green technologies, architects are now more than ever able to fully maximize their sophisticated artistic visions, while simultaneously minimizing the negative environmental effects of their structures. As climates and resources shift, environmentally-conscious architecture is beginning to produce more and more complex, sustainable, and awe-inspiring buildings, signifying that green architecture is the wave of the future from both a creativity standpoint, as well as out of ecological necessity. In fact, in the most extreme and inventive cases, architects are now not only working to preserve the natural environment, but actually to positively affect, alter and improve it.

In its most basic form, green architecture signifies building designs and practices which predominantly utilize recyclable and renewable materials to create structures that operate on a minimal amount of energy. Efficient building models are able to run off of solar, wind, and sometimes water-powered energy generation and take up as little land as possible in order to preserve or encourage green space.

If you’re interested in more architecture inspiration, these posts will amaze you:

30 Incredibly Realistic Interior and Exterior CG Environments
50 Conceptual CG Buildings and Environments
30 Striking Architectural Photographs

A massive and trendsetting example of green architecture is the Hearst Tower in New York City, which in 2006 was the first building to become certified with an LEED Gold rating.

The towering skyscraper, which is built on top of the 1928 Hearst International Magazine Building, can boast that it was constructed out of 90% recycled materials and currently uses 26% less energy than is required by today’s standard building codes.

An even more space-age like recent example – one which dominates another skyline – is the Bahrain World Trade Center.

The complex’s two towers are connected by giant wind turbines, which are capable of providing up to 15% of the buildings’ total energy consumption.

And it’s not just about the skyscrapers. While plenty of private clients now choose to construct homes, offices, and schools out of recyclable materials, outfitting them with solar panels and energy-saving appliances, some properties go one step further, opting to adopt “green roofs.” This design choice is exactly what it sounds like: soil and grass-covered roofs that provide insulation for the home, give back the green space claimed by the building itself and, in the most sophisticated of cases, help to maintain the ecology for surrounding wildlife.

A stunningly simple residential example of this can be seen in the OS house built in Spain by NOLASTER Architects.

The art department at Nanyang Technological University offers an even more whimsical model.

This, however, is only the beginning. As green technology advances, so too do architects’ visions for its usage. Some, like Vincent Callebaut Architects’ “Lilypad Project”, which proposes ocean-based eco-city islands that run on collected rainwater, will most likely remain pure fantasy.

Others, like Sheila Kennedy’s “Soft House”, that makes use of solar-harvesting textiles, may simply be too costly to ever be put into mass production.

The ideas come in all shapes and sizes, from skyscrapers filled with agricultural farmland to single-family homes that run off of energy produced by the household’s own inhabitants and objects.

CK Designworks in Nanjing, China, has recently unveiled their design plans for a remarkably large eco-city development slated to begin construction shortly. And while some projects are focused on preserving natural resources and finding alternative energy sources, others like the Living Mountain, dream up the creation of entirely new micro-environments.

In this particular proposal, inhabitants will survive the growing desert landscape by building cities inside of massive, mountainous skyscrapers. While creating protection from the uninhabitable outside, the structure will also work to pull water from the region, cycling it inside to produce an entirely new climate and ecology.

One thing clear in all these plans, visions, proposals and dreams is that green architecture provides not only new challenges, but new opportunities for designers. It is an inspiring and growing field full of imagination and innovation, one which puts firmly in the architect’s hands the exciting responsibility of envisioning and constructing a new look for the future.

Source:  Creativefan.com by Maria Nemenman

By Jerry Yudelson Yudelson Associates –  More people are going green each year, and there is nothing that will stop this trend. In fact, it is accelerating each year. As a result, we expect to see considerable interest in green products that promote water conservation and energy efficiency, including fixtures and appliances, as well as energy-efficient windows and doors, certified wood products (either FSC or SFI), and recycled-content materials.Many individual homes and businesses are investing in new resource-efficient technologies and green operational practices, and cities are developing certification systems to reward this behavior. My consulting company, Yudelson Associates, is a good example. In December 2010, we were certified by the city of Tucson, Az., as a green business because of our operational practices, including solar electric and thermal systems, water conserving fixtures and rainwater harvesting, waste recycling, and environmentally preferable purchasing. These are all measures that you will begin to see adopted in greater numbers by many of the end-users served by you and your direct customers.

Let’s take a look in more detail at where some of the green building trends are headed.

1. Worldwide, the green building movement will continue to accelerate, as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and develop their own green building councils. Inside the U.S., we expect to see an expanding roster of green product certifications, each aiming to influence the consumer’s choices. Dealers will need to stay on top of these product choices, to find which are favored by their customers.

2. Green building in the commercial sector will rebound in 2011, as measured by the new LEED project registrations. The dramatic slowdown in new construction of commercial real estate was not offset by other sectors, such as government, so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically in 2010. However, we expect a continued upward movement of new green buildings, albeit at a slower pace, as green continues to take market share.

3. Recent announcements of the federal government’s commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations of public buildings highlight the Obama Administration’s continued focus on green technologies. At the state and local level, other layers of government show no signs of “green fatigue.” In fact, new green building mandates and incentives continue to grow. This means more product sales, as commitments become action.

4. The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2009 and 2010 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program-and I expect this trend to continue in 2011. Affordable energy and water conservation devices will accelerate this trend, and should lead to greater sales of such devices.

5. Blue will become the new green, especially in arid areas of the West, Southwest and Southeast. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will continue to grow, inducing building designers, owners, and managers-as well as consumers-to take further steps to reduce water consumption and increase sustainability. This will be accomplished through the use of more conservation-oriented fixtures, rainwater recovery systems, and innovative new water technologies. Many new packaged systems are coming to market, and these could provide good opportunities for dealers and distributors in water-short regions.

6. Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings will become increasingly commonplace in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and ENERGY STAR ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage. From a product standpoint, you may start to see demands for such things as triple-pane windows and better building monitoring and control systems.

7. Performance disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California and cities such as Austin, Tx.; Seattle, Wa., and Washington, D.C. In these areas, commercial building owners will be required to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers, to comply with new requirements.

8. Certified Green Schools will grow rapidly as part the LEED System. This trend will accelerate as understanding of the health and educational benefits of green schools grows. By mid-year 2010, green schools represented nearly 40% of all new LEED projects in the U.S. We’ll also see energy-efficiency retrofits come into vogue as a way to green existing schools, so be on the lookout for what local energy managers for school districts are saying and doing.

9. Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings, for both themselves and the private sector. In 2011, I expect to see at least 20 major new cities with commercial-sector green building mandates. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.

10. Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. This trend will be enhanced by municipal utilities trying to comply with state-level renewable power standards for 2015 and 2020. Third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop solar systems, such as on warehouses. However, we may very well see a slowing of large solar and wind systems, as federal grant support, in lieu of tax credits, is phased out. In the building products area, look for new forms of solar roofing systems that allow a homeowner or building owner to do their own retrofits at minimal extra cost.

11. The development of “software as a service” using the Internet “cloud” will rely on a whole new generation of smart meters, monitoring devices, and intelligent controls. Energy-monitoring services such as Google “Power Meter” will lead consumers, business, and industry to start investing in more home and building electronics.

– Jerry Yudelson is an engineer and business consultant with nearly 15 years experience in green building. Since 2005, he has written 12 books on green building, green products, green development, and water conservation. His most recent book, Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Crisis,  showcases business opportunities in water efficiency. His firm, Yudelson Associates, provides green marketing, green building, and sustainability consulting services nationally to a wide variety of private sector clients. He can be contacted at jerry@greenbuildconsult.com.

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