Progress and development sustain our economy and ever-growing population; however, they do take a toll on the environment. To contain the environmental effects of development, the United States Green Building Council created LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a rating system for green building for construction companies and general contractors to follow. There are a few reasons why you want to work with a general contractor who follows LEED.
First, LEED offers a whole-building approach to green construction. To promote sustainability, contractors need to consider the design, construction, and operation of buildings; LEED provides contractors with the tools needed to accomplish this. There are five main areas that LEED recognizes as crucial to human and environmental health: indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, water conservation, materials selection, and sustainable site development.
So why is LEED, or green construction, so important? Because of the large amount of land use, energy and water consumption, and air and atmosphere alteration buildings account for, the EPA sees reducing the amount of natural resources building consume and the amount of pollution they give off as critical for future sustainability. The environmental impact of buildings is often underestimated and poorly addressed. On the other hand, the costs of green building are often overestimated, turning contractors away from it. While the cost up-front may be more expensive than non-green building, the cost over a life span is generally much cheaper, because of the building’s efficiency. Does your general contractor follow LEED? Knowing could make all the difference.