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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

April 18, 2011

 

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the building rating system conceived and introduced by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1999. LEED uses a holistic system to quantify and measure the performance of a building as it relates to five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. USGBC chose these areas because they provide a way for us to obtain a broad perspective of how a building will affect our communities – from how it affects the humans occupying it to how it affects the environment in which it is constructed and occupied.

Impact on Our Communities

The buildings we construct and operate consume 30% of the total energy (electricity and fossil fuels) as well as 60% of the generated electricity in the United States. They consume 5 billion gallons, annually, of potable water simply to flush toilets. They also create 2.5 pounds of solid waste per square foot. It’s not hard to see why it’s important that we take a broader view of the buildings we construct and their impact on our communities.

Research has shown buildings constructed using the LEED approach create environments that result in lower absenteeism, improved work quality, up to a 16% increase in employee productivity, less solid waste, and improved local economies; and are healthier places to work and live. How different would the development and construction process be if building owners and managers understood the “total” impact of their decisions when constructing and operating their facilities? Would they be willing to spend slightly more if they knew of the above benefits? Lower absenteeism, improved work quality, and increased employee productivity are goals every company would like to achieve. Now it’s  possible simply by employing the LEED process.

The LEED system uses a points-based process to determine the level of success the building will and has achieved during its construction or renovation process. The largest number of points can be achieved via the energy and atmosphere category. This is where HVAC Consultants can and should have the largest impact.

Each of the five areas of the LEED rating system have prerequisites that must be met prior to earning any additional points. For energy and atmosphere, these prerequisites are commissioning, minimum energy performance, and refrigerant management.

DRI Green Products help earn substantial Green Building LEED Points for :

  • Energy Saving
  • Improved IEQ
  • Innovative New Technology

They help to maintain Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) requirements and recover energy from exhaust air, resulting in considerable reduction in installed tonnage and utility bills. They also assist in enhancing Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), maintaining desired temperature and humidity and increasing productivity.

DRI products have played a major role in many projects for achieving sustainable Green Building status with LEED and other energy certifications.

 
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