C+S April 2020 Vol. 6 Issue 4 (web)

What is LEED for Green Buildings? structures + buildings

LEED stands for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a building certification initiative by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The motive behind this certification is to enhance environmental awareness among the construction industry and em- phasize energy-efficient design and construction along with the use of sustainable or green building materials. The Natural Resources Defense Council introduced LEED certification in 1993. Later on, the LEED rating system was launched in 2000, and now LEED includes the design, construction, and operation of the buildings. Effects of Conventional Building Construction on Environment Conventional buildings impact the environment through non-sustain- able materials, methods of construction, and other factors that affect the environment on a long time frame. Huge Energy Consumption According to the USGBC, approximately 41 percent of the world's energy is used by buildings. The other two highest energy consumers are industries and transportation devouring 30 percent and 29 percent of electricity, respectively. Hence, a tremendous amount of energy is consumed by the buildings through lighting, heating, and cooling sys- tems. In the United States, buildings ingest 73 percent of the country's electricity consumption. So, apart from the building material, a non- efficient HVAC system and energy-uses have a substantial negative American building construction also impacts air quality. Construction is partially blameworthy for the massive greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Conventional buildings produce 38 percent of total CO2 emissions. Hence, traditional buildings are de- grading the air quality, which is unfavorable for the environment and our health. Improper Water Utilization Conventional building construction uses a considerable amount of wa- ter. The traditional building system is also responsible for the waste of a significant percentage of water. According to research, buildings take 13.6 percent of all potable water, which is equal to 15 trillion gallons of water per year. So, our traditional building methods are affecting the resources our lives depend on. Construction Materials The material used in construction also affects the environment. Con- struction materials that aren’t sustainably manufactured are more likely to increase CO2 emission. The transportation of the raw material and the final product are also accountable for climate change. Moreover, the consumption and extraction of raw materials also leads to adverse effects on the environment. The USGBC says 40 percent of the world’s impact on the environment. Degrading Air Quality

raw materials are used by the construction industry. These raw materi- als are natural resources and excessive consumption results in negative impacts on the environment.


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