LEED Certification Improves Buildings, Public Health and Careers

LEED Certification Improves Buildings, Public Health and Careers

Careers in the green building industry continue to expand. From architecture to manufacturing, being familiar with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program is essential for success in a world increasingly aware of natural resource shortages and human health issues.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. As the Green Building Council notes, it’s reshaping the way we approach choosing and constructing the places where we live.

The LEED program is intended to help find solutions to environmental and health concerns facing the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment. It helps industrial suppliers, such as Grainger, to stay on the cutting edge of providing the best ecofriendly products for construction. Grainger offers LEED rated products including Benjamin Moore “Advance” interior paints.

The Green Building Council’s LEED program is a certification system in which independent, third party experts rate whether a building or community is designed to achieve excellent performance for human and environmental health.

LEED approval of new construction and major renovation is awarded at four levels, with the highest being a platinum rating. The other levels are gold, silver and accredited. These labels are based on the rigor with which a project incorporates green technologies and materials.

For career seekers in any profession related to ecofriendly building construction – including architects, building inspectors, construction managers and engineers – the program also provides credentials based on successful completion of an accreditation exam.

The professional accreditation exam covers everything involved in creating a building, including energy and water use, materials and building operation. Employers in the construction industry now regularly look for LEED accreditation.

The exam contains 80 questions about the LEED rating system concerning six topics: sustainable sites, materials and resources, energy use and atmosphere, indoor air quality, water efficiency and a miscellaneous category for environmental efforts not covered by the other categories.

Preparation for the exam reinforces the broad range of what consumer advocates and everyone in the industrial and construction design industries need to know to achieve ecofriendly homes, commercial buildings and communities. It covers questions of cost as well as ways to save energy, reduce negative environmental and health impacts and ways to make buildings safer and more comfortable for occupants.

One excellent example of how the LEED process guides environmentally responsible development is a supermarket recently built by Lunds & Byerly’s, a Minnesota-based, family-owned grocer.

Lunds & Byerly’s new supermarket in Minneapolis has received a silver LEED rating. The company renovated an automobile showroom, conserving natural resources by retaining many of the original elements.

Instead of tossing out the old wood, Lunds & Byerly’s repurposed it within the new 20,000-square-foot design. The grocer also updated the buildings refrigeration and lighting capacity, using LED lighting and energy-saving coolants.

Outside in the parking lot, the company went the extra mile by providing a charging station for electric and hybrid cars. It also constructed a rain garden to manage runoff and increase landscaping without accessing more treated water.

So add grocery store manager and landscaper to that list of people who should take the LEED professional exam. It’s a worthwhile credential as well as an essential product and work rating.

This is a guest post by Jessica Stark from Eat Breathe Blog. Jessica is interested in social media and environmental issues. She also enjoys learning about technology and loves spending time outdoors.

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About

Steve holds a degree in Environmental Engineering Technology from Humber College in Toronto, is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. He currently lives in Victoria BC and works as a green building consultant specializing in residential projects.

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