The sustainable (green) building movement is a major trend in design and construction of commercial and public buildings. The United States Green Building Council has coordinated the establishment and evolution of a national consensus effort to provide the industry with the tools necessary to design, build and operate buildings that deliver high performance inside and outside the building footprint.
They have developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard, which is a rating system based on optimum site selection and sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere optimization, materials and resources (renewable and recyclable base), and indoor environmental quality. The LEED process is a systematic approach where building design and construction needs to meet various requirements in the five segments to reach a certain rating level, and LEED certification is voluntary. Whether it be a school, library, government building or your office, you probably have been in a LEED building. All people in the building industry are looking for ways to adapt to this changing environment in the private and public sectors. We know that buildings consume annually more than 30 percent of the nation’s total energy, and more than 60 percent of the electricity. Research has demonstrated that green design measures in new buildings reduce operating costs, enhance building marketability, increase worker productivity and reduce potential liability resulting from indoor air quality problems.
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