Is LEED a Worthwhile Investment for Today’s Environmentally Savvy Developer?
What is Wrong with the Environment
It should not be a surprise to anyone that landfills around the world are filling up. The North American lifestyle is one to which the majority of the undeveloped world aspires. Such a lifestyle is, however, completely unsustainable, today, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, non-renewable resource consumption, and non-biodegradable waste production, let alone in the future as other countries become developed. As some of the second and third world nations such as China and India quickly jump toward production levels that match those of the developed world this epidemic is destined to worsen. Thus, many different groups have stepped in to develop plans and programs to curb the destruction of our wonderful planet. One of these programs that focus specifically on the construction industry is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED). This program is designed to create awareness and try to decrease the environmental degradation created from construction and demolition.
When and How Did LEED begin?
This program was designed in 1998 by a government funded organization called the United
States Green Building Council. This program was created to generate incentive for
environmentally friendly contractors and architects to continue pursuing the implementation of environmentally friendly building practices. Soon, that guide became the leading green construction guide in the United States. As commonly occurs when an idea gains acceptance in the American market, there soon became a demand for a Canadian version of that same guide.
The American guide was adopted and augmented by the Canadian Green Building Council
(CaGBC) to create a Canadian version. The Canadian version of the guide was redesigned so that it better suited Canadian economic conditions, climate and lifestyles. By changing the value and point allocation to certain parts of the total ranking system the CaGBC managed to keep the Canadian version as similar to its American counterpart as possible while still making sure it effectively related to the Canadian construction outlook. One example of the difference between the Canadian and the American programs is the requirement of continual fresh airflow. Within Canada, due to the many areas with a harsher climate than the United States, the value associated to continual fresh airflow is decreased and precautions are made so that this requirement can be avoided all together through air cleaning devices. This was done so that there would not be a need to constantly heat cold air from the outdoors during the winter.
How does Canadian LEED Work?
The way the LEED system works in Canada is very simple. After applying for a design to be
LEED certified you are told whether your design is approved, what improvements should be
made, and then you are told that you may begin...