Oct 31, 2010

Sustainability Journey

Karen spoke of a person's  Sustainability Journey or that one is never finished learning how to become more sustainable. A person's sustainability commitment is more of a practice like that of yoga or law or medicine.

Sorry I never relayed the notes from our September Green Network Group presenter, Karen Stiles of the Waste Management Sustainability Division, and her discussion on LEED.

Most of you know by now that LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
It was created in 1993 by the US Green Building Council as a program that standardizes requirements for Green Buildings. The GBCI is the body that decides if your installation meets the requirements of LEED.

I'll be honest that I have done some reading on LEED and attended a few conferences and I still do not have my hands around it completely. I believe it is morphing constantly to encompass more specific and hopefully helpful ratings. I still do not know the cost of having a building certified but I have heard it can be quite sizeable.
A few of us at the meeting joked of being unable to decipher between accreditation and certification.
The buildings get LEED certification and the humans who pass testing get LEED accreditation

LEED BUILDING CERTIFICATION:
Designations are divided into the following:
LEED for:
-New construction
-Schools
-Core and shell
-Commercial interiors
-Existing buildings-operations and maintenance
-Neighborhood development


LEED PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS:

Designations are as follows:
-LEED Green Associate
-LEED AP Building Design and Construction
-LEED AP Homes
-LEED AP Interior Design and Construction
-LEED AP Operations and Maintenance
-LEED AP Neighborhood

Here are a few points I took from Karen's talk:

Important Topics that LEED considers include:
1.Sustainable sites-more credit is given to those building in an urban area where environmental services that benefit all can be spread
2.Water efficiency
3.Energy and Atmosphere
4.Materials and Resources-carpet of recycled content and low VOC paints
5.Indoor Environmental Quality-is moisture getting out and is fresh air getting in
6.Innovation in Design
7.Regional Priority

LEED can be a Sustainability Driver-Karen spoke of how Wal-mart to pursue their LEED position makes their vendors fit into the Wal-mart Sustainability Mission

LEED Certification provides independent 3rd party verification that a building or neighborhood development project meets the highest green building performance measures...it proves that a building or neighborhood is environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy place to live and work.

Karen said that businesses can no longer avoid being impacted by sustainability-they must address where they stand

ENVIRONMENTAL  and FINANCIAL BENEFITS  to EARNING LEED CERTIFICATION are as FOLLOWS:

-Lowering operating costs and increasing asset value
-Reducing waste sent to landfills
-Conserving Energy and Water
-Developing healthier and safer buildings for occupants
-Creating compact and walkable communities with good access to neighborhood amenities and transit
-Protecting natural resources and farmland by encouraging growth to be located in areas with existing infrastructure
-Reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions
-Qualifying for tax rebates, zoning allowances, and other incentives in hundreds of cities
-Demonstrating an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility


LEVELS of SUSTAINABILITY  for BUSINESS are as FOLLOWS:

GREEN:
-Have an official sustainability statement
-Company environmental baselines are known
-Company environmental impacts are assessed
-Reduction goals are outlined
-Comprehensive Waste Diversion

LIGHT GREEN:
-Recycling Programs
-Conservation Efficiencies
-Green Purchases
-Form "Green Teams"

DARK GREEN:
-Corporate Governance
-Assessed Supply Chain Impacts
-Mandating Energy Efficiency
-Carbon Impact Solutions
-Voluntary Reporting
-Certification
-Renewable Energy Usage

BLUE THINKING:
-Environmental Leadership
-Transformational Innovation
-Long Term Strategic Planning
-Connection to Brand Strategy
-Environmental Accountability

BLUE IS THE NEW GREEN
Karen spoke of how Blue offers a company the chance to leave an installation in better shape than it was when the installation was started. Guess it's like taking a horribly damaged Superfund waste location and changing it into an educational campus that is totally sustainable for energy, water, and CO2 release. A hard job but a very fulfilling one for the environment and man.

If you are in any way affiliated with Building Maintenance, Design, or Construction, you really should consider some continuing education on LEED issues!

Important LEED related websites include:

US GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL
LEED on wikipedia
Conserv-A-Store-your best source for Green Goods website is here

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