Green buildings standard

Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability through LEED certification

Another acronym has been introduced to the roofing industry—LEED. No, this is not a new membrane type. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is a voluntary, consensus-based standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Launched four years ago by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is an integrated design approach that addresses the potentials of water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, material selection and indoor environmental quality. Buildings that successfully meet LEED requirements can receive certification and qualify for tax credits.

Although LEED only recently was introduced, more than 700 private and public buildings have been registered for LEED certification. About 39 percent are state and local government projects; 39 percent are private-sector projects; 13 percent are nonprofit projects; and 10 percent are federal projects. Projects include manufacturing facilities, firehouses, convention centers and schools. Projects have been registered from all 50 U.S. states and nine countries.

The pace of LEED certification undoubtedly will quicken as a growing number of state and local governments encourage sustainable building practices through various financial, zoning and other regulatory incentives.

Following is an overview of LEED; issues related to roof systems; and items of interest to roof system designers, manufacturers and roofing contractors.