I wonder what the next level of sustainability and green building will be now that LEED Certification has become more the norm.
In 2010, LEED Certification was a notable distinction for the best-of-the-best in building design, construction, and operations.
Now, it’s a fairly common strategy for buildings, resulting in lower energy use, lower water use, improved occupant health, and more.
It’s still impressive, especially when you take into account how innovative design-thinking helped to achieve a particular LEED Certification level for the project or that LEED standards can now be applied to homes and communities (not just commercial buildings).
All in all, if you’re not working toward LEED Certification, you’re lagging behind everyone else.
Sustainable Building Programs: Then & Now
For almost 30 years, organizations have been trying to revolutionize the building industry and seize on the available sustainability opportunities.
Despite the competition, LEED has emerged as the clear frontrunner.
LEED Certification impacts all types of buildings and has been used in 160 countries and territories.
LEED standards have been applied to approximately 83,452 registered and certified LEED projects worldwide, covering around 13.8 billion square feet.
Branching Out from Green Buildings
Since “green” offers such a vast landscape of opportunity, there are many ways to approach it (beyond buildings) and bring our work and daily lives up to modern standards.
Even the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI), who administers the LEED Certification program, has tried to branch out. With LEED’s success in mind, GBCI has launched ancillary sustainability certification paths for specific components of green building (such as SITES for sustainable landscaping and Parksmart for garages).
Beyond the traditional methods of sustainable building certification, what are other forward-thinking sustainable strategies we can implement?
To get the ball rolling, here are some ideas:
- Zero Lawn
- Zero Gas
- Solar-Ready Home Building
- City-wide mandates to eliminate plastic bags
- Retail policies to eliminate plastic straws
Residential hardscape & landscaping are probably top of my mind right now, as the pesticides and chemicals required to maintain “lawns” are killing bees and insects, polluting our water, and poisoning us with cancer-causing chemicals. What is a better way?
For the sake of conversation, what do you think will be the next program or standard that we can aspire to achieve for the most sustainable lifestyle?
If you’ve got ideas for what’s next in sustainability, drop us a line on Twitter. Just tweet us at @everblue_edu