LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a nationally accepted benchmark that was created in 1998 by the Green Council and covers over 14,000 projects in all 50 U.S. States and 30 countries.
LEED certified buildings use key resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings which are simply built to code. LEED certified buildings are healthier work and living environments, which contributes to higher productivity and improved employee health and comfort.
Becoming a LEED rated property is a long and arduous process. It requires an extensive review of building operating procedures. Meeting the requirements typically involves many changes in the way a property is managed and operated.
Different levels of achievement are awarded for LEED Certification. The certification is based on a 69 point scale, and the number of points a building earns determines its LEED Certification rating. The highest rating is Platinum, then Gold, Silver, and simply LEED Certified. Platinum buildings earn between 52 and 69 points, Gold buildings earn between 39 and 51 points, Silver buildings earn between 33 and 38 points, and LEED Certified properties earn between 26 and 32 points. Rincon Center is working to achieve a Gold rating. Buildings are awarded points for making changes to the building and/or operating procedures that enables it to become more environmentally friendly. For example, Rincon Center was awarded points for replacing the old urinals with new lo-flow urinals and installing lo-flow aerators on all faucets throughout the property. In some areas, such as the Green Cleaning standard, we already meet the LEED standard. In addition, we also earned points for the composting program which has been highly successful thanks to the efforts of all of the restaurants in the building.
In other areas, such as the no smoking policy, we will need the support of the building occupants to be successful. To qualify for LEED, no smoking is permitted within 25 feet from any building entrance or outside air intake vent. This item may be one of the most challenging items of the LEED Certification process for Rincon Center (see related article on page 3). While we still have a way to go in our certification process, we are certain that there will be many benefits to the building occupants and to the environment at Rincon Center by becoming a LEED Certified property.
For more information, visit http://www.USGBC.org.