Nine LEED® Rating Systems, Infinite Possibilities

With sustainable green building such a big thing, many building contractors are starting to see the financial possibilities.  However, building green only goes so far without proof that industry standards were followed.  For that, we have the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System.LEED® Rating SystemsWhen it comes to green building industry standards, one size does not “fit all”.  Different situations call for different standards, practices and rating systems.  LEED® rating systems fall under nine areas:1.    New Construction – for projects such as complexes, high-rises, manufacturing plants, etc.2.    Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance – for owners and operators of existing buildings who want to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact3.    Commercial Interiors – for the tenant improvement market; high-performance green interiors in the work place4.    Core and Shell – for designers, new building owners, developers and builders in new core and shell construction, such as structure and HVAC system5.    Schools – to address each school’s specific needs, such as mold prevention and environmental site assessment6.    Retail – to address each retailer’s specific needs (this rating system will be defunct in 2009, separated into New Construction and Commercial Interiors)7.    Healthcare – for the healthcare market, such as inpatient care facilities, medical offices and research centers.  One of the addressed issues is a rise in sensitivity to chemicals.8.    Homes – for the residential district to help with constructing high-performance green homes.9.    Neighborhood Development – a national system for neighborhood design, the meet accepted levels of sustainable, green development.No matter what the rating system covers, LEED®’s goals remain the same: to encourage and speed up the world’s use of sustainable green building and development practices.  The way this is accomplished is by looking at five key performance areas.•    Sustainable site development•    Water savings•    Energy efficiency•    Choice of materials•    Indoor environmental qualityIf you’re interested in green building, research the nine rating systems to ensure that you’re following the right standards.  In the meantime, designing with the five key areas in mind is a good start.

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