word of the week: LEED
LEED: the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized program run through the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage environmentally sustainable building practices. Focusing on energy savings, water efficiency, and CO2 emissions reduction the LEED certification program provides building developers a framework for implementing green building design solutions for individual structures or entire communities.
Buildings can earn various levels of LEED accreditation (LEED Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) depending on how many points they accumulate through green building practices. Points can be earned for something as simple as installing low-flow faucets in bathrooms, and as complex as designing buildings that generate their own energy.
Green building is becoming one of the defining elements of contemporary architecture, and Chicago is leading the trend with a long and growing list of LEED accredited buildings. The Modern Wing of the Art Institute was recently accredited with LEED Silver for a variety of green building efforts such as sensors that adjust the artificial light depending on the brightness of day outside. The owners of the Willis Tower are currently striving for LEED certification through plans of cutting electricity usage by 80%, which in part would be achieved through replacing the current windows with new air-tight windows. Read more about the comprehensive Willis Tower greening plan here.
For more information on the LEED program here is the website of the U.S. Green Building Council.