The Emergence of The LEED® Rating System – Part Four

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The demand for LEED® certification has increased dramatically since the rating system’s initial release in 1998.  In the current economic, environmental and social construction climate, green is the way to go and LEED® certifications outline the path.  The U.S. Green Building Council has worked diligently to respond to market demand for green products.Three primary factors have contributed to the growth of Sustainable Development in the United States.•    Historic increase of government backed green initiatives calling for LEED® ratings.•    Increase in green residential projects.•    Expansion of available green building product lines.Government definitely helped spur the growth of the green movement.  As of 2003, more than 50% of green building was endorsed by federal, state and local governments.  Only 33% of green projects were undertaken by the private sector.Between 2004 and 2008, the increase in energy costs reinforced the green building movement and the value of the LEED®  rating system.  Public and private commercial and residential developers began to look at sustainable projects with new interest.As interest rose, the U.S. Green Building Council expanded the LEED®  program to include:•    LEED® for New Construction – LEED®  – NC•    LEED® for Existing Buildings-Operation and Maintenance –LEED®  – EB•    LEED® for Commercial Interiors – LEED®  – CI•    LEED® for Core & Shell – LEED®  – CS•    LEED® for Schools – LEED®  – S•    LEED® for Retail – LEED®  – R•    LEED® for Healthcare – LEED®  – HC•    LEED® for Homes – LEED®  – HThese eight LEED® programs now account for the three criteria addressed by the U.N. sustainable report of 2005; economic, environmental and social sustainability.Consumers have joined the sustainable movement.  While the initial cost of green construction may be slightly higher than traditional construction, the operating savings and reduction in environmental impact outweigh the initial outlay.  Additionally, the marketability of LEED® certified commercial or residential property exceeds the value of traditional construction.LEED® certification is now synonymous with the highest and best use of properties.  This significant reality attests to the validity of the eight LEED®  programs.  In 2009, responsible development and real estate ownership now begins with LEED® ratings.

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