Taking the LEED in Government Buildings

Projected GHG Reduction: Unknown
Implementation Year(s): Legislation Pending

Third-party green building certification is a way to ensure that building owners and occupants receive a well-designed, economically beneficial, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant structure.

The pre-eminent U.S. green building rating system is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®), which was created in a consensus process by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

There are four possible levels of LEED certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Achieving a certain level of LEED certification means that a green building project has achieved not only the prerequisite required for certification, but also a variety of optional credits in the areas of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

Projects are encouraged to pursue LEED credits that are most applicable to their building type and project goals. The LEED system aims to provide achievable building performance results that create energy, water, and resource efficient buildings that are economically viable and healthy for those living and working in them.

LEED certified buildings ultimately depend less on city
infrastructure because they use fewer utilities. Since 2004, the number of government green building programs (the vast majority which are based on the LEED green building rating system) has quadrupled, increasing from 36 municipal programs to 160.

As of May 2008, legislation mandating that all Pittsburgh
municipal construction projects larger than 5,000–squarefeet pursue LEED Silver certification was awaiting Pittsburgh City Council approval. A City of Pittsburgh municipal mandate that building projects pursue LEED certification will help foster the growing economic opportunities for green design, green construction, energy efficiency, green building product manufacturing, and other related local industries. Additionally, creating more economically, environmentally, and socially appropriate spaces for Pittsburgh residents and City staff will continue to enhance Pittsburgh’s quality of life.

Click here to view the complete list of municipal recommendations available in the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan.