Buildings use 39% of total energy, 12 % of total water consumption, 68% of total electricity consumption and discharge 38% of total carbon monoxide emissions (USGBC). Therefore, Green buildings not only have a positive impact on the environment, but on our health and economy as well.
For the environment, as one would expect, Green building aims to conserve the natural resources, reduce waste and conserve and improve air/water quality etc. On the economic side, Green buildings reduce operating costs and improve economic performance. Finally, Green buildings also seek to reduce load on local infrastructure, create more aesthetically pleasing living/working environments and improve the overall quality of life.
The US Green Building Council has developed a green building rating system known as LEED -Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- rating. It depends on committees of volunteers who are experts in various fields within the construction and building industry. They certify ” and support successful green building design, construction and operations”(USGBC).
LEED ratings depend on whether the building in question is a new construction, homes, commercial, existing building, school, neighborhood development or retail. Furthermore, depending on the certain conditions that the building meets, the building is certified as one of the four following categories:
1. Certified : 26-32 points
2. Silver : 33-38 points
3. Gold: 39-51points
4. Platinum: 52-69 points