Going Green in Architecture: LEED Certification

Citation metadata

Date: Jan. 1, 2019
Publisher: Educate.Today
Document Type: Interactive video file
Duration: 00:04:51
Length: 799 words

Document controls

Main content

Full Text: 
What does it take for a building to become LEED certified? What's the difference between silver, gold, and platinum certification? How do LEED buildings impact the environment? To find the answers to these questions and more on the process of LEED certification, check out the video above.
© Educate.Today

[ Music ]

There's one. There's another. And there's a whole neighborhood of them. At almost every turn, there's a LEED-certified building. And their popularity is only growing.

Most of our clients want to have a LEED-certified building, and I would estimate that perhaps half to three-quarters of our clients are going LEED.

As it turns out, getting that nationally accepted label, which certifies buildings as environmentally friendly or green, is kind of like a game with points attached to each green feature. And the more points you get, the better the price, or should we say certification?

There's basic certified which is 26 points, 32 points for silver, 39 points is gold. And if you achieved 52 points, you'd be platinum.

Architect and engineer Rich Janice took us to St. Louis Community College's LEED-certified Wildwood campus to better explain how to rack up LEED points.

We're going to go out to the roof right now and see a lot of the LEED features.

Rich points out the plants growing up here which absorb heat from the sun. And notice the roof is painted white instead of black.

And those two features contribute to reduction of heat island effect on the roof.

And that's good for one point toward LEED certification. Also on the roof, you'll find drains that collect rainwater and a cistern.

This plus some other features lead to a point for what's called stormwater management.

The points are rolling in now and so is student traffic on campus. Notice how full this lot is.

And that creates an incentive perhaps to carpool or to take public transportation. So the LEED point is to install no more parking than is required by code.

That goes down as one point for alternative transportation. Next up, the men's bathroom. Here, we'll pick up points for water efficiency. After all, these urinals are waterless.

Our waterless urinals use an oil. And the liquid falls down and goes below the oil and through the plumbing system without the use of water to flush the urinal.

With that and other water-efficient fixtures, the campus has a 30% savings on water. And that's good for two LEED points. Recycling, you'll see cans like these all over campus. How many points are they worth?

Recycling does not get a point. It's worth zero points. But unless you do recycling, you will not get a LEED rating. It's a prerequisite.

As it turns out, recycling isn't the only prerequisite for LEED certification. There's a long list of others, including complying to energy codes. But let's get back to features that will add on some points.

Daylight control is a big feature of the energy design. You can see that there's a light shelf below the clerestory windows. And what that does is it bounces the light up. And then the contour of the ceiling projects the light deeply into the room so that when we have enough light, the electric lights dim and save on power consumption in the building.

That combined with ventilation and some other features in the mechanical room saves about 34% of the energy the building would have used and adds four points to the school's score. Beyond water and energy efficiency, the LEED reviewers are also interested in educating the public, and that's where this kiosk in the commons area comes in. People can come by. They can learn exactly how the LEED process works. For this, the college earned one point. As you can imagine, the school scored points in several other areas, from construction waste management to use of materials manufactured regionally. But altogether, the school earned 46 LEED points. That means this campus was awarded the gold certification. But administrators say even though it costs about three to 5% more to construct a LEED-certified building, the benefits go beyond just a plaque on the wall.

So we save about $45,000 a year in energy and water and sewer use. We've created an excellent learning environment for our students. It's a bright, airy environment, well lit.

I've definitely noticed it's more light and open than other schools. It's a fun place to hang out, and it makes studying a lot easier than other places I've been to where it's kind of stuffy and dark.

Studies actually show that LEED-certified gold buildings contribute to a one and a half percent productivity gain in its workers or students.

I love it. I am here all the time.

And for most people who aren't keeping score, that's really what LEED certification is all about.

If I don't keep up on that kind of stuffs, I wouldn't know that, you know, what it means. I just know that this place is really nice and it's really open and welcoming.

[ Music ]

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|HMRQRH975508514