Updated: Jun 24
Earth Day marks the birth of the modern environmental movement. It has been celebrated annually since 1970 and was created to give a voice to a movement concerned about the future of the planet. Since then, this conscientiousness has spread across the globe and includes more than 1 Billion participants in more than 190 countries, making it the largest secular observance in the world, according to earthday.org.
What is Green Building?
Green Building is the term used for sustainable construction. Many people, myself included, probably think it applies exclusively to building material selection. However, that is only a small portion of the considerations needed to be environmentally friendly. Green building is a holistic term and inclusive of all aspects of building. In addition to material selection, it also includes: planning, design, construction, and building operation, which encompasses energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s effects on the world around it.
“Green building is the practice of designing, constructing, and operating buildings using fewer resources”
In order to establish standards for recognizing and rewarding accomplishments in green construction, the LEED system was created in 2013 by a group of civilian architects and nonprofits.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it encompasses the framework for decision-making in all areas of construction, in order to accomplish the shared goal of designing safe, healthy, and sustainable places for the human population to eat, sleep, and play. And since we spend up to 90% of our lives indoors, that is a very important goal!
LEED Certified Construction Materials
Building environmentally friendly structures may not be a practice accessible to everyone. Would we all love to live in a LEED-certified house or building? Sure! Can we find and hire the right team for the job and ensure the project is executed to the highest standards? Maybe. Is this process wide-spread enough to be accessible to all? No.
Even though LEED certification may not be achievable on your current property, LEED certification is available on many individual building materials, which you can look for when handling small projects, upgrades, and remodels on your home.
LEED certification is awarded to consumer products based on two factors: FACTOR ONE - Local Production (how far does the product have to travel), and FACTOR 2- Use of environmentally preferable products.
The list of LEED approved products continues to grow, and will soon include:
Insulated concrete forms
Polystyrene and isocyanurate
Green Building Insider
US Green Building Council