LEED certification is the hallmark of sustainable business practices. Presenting a Platinum badge means asserting alignment with the continuous commitment to create green workplaces. But how did LEED certification become the ubiquitous mark of going green?
The History of Going Green
The 1970s saw the first mainstream waves of environmentalism hit the U.S. with the founding of organizations like theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Greenpeace. The first Earth Day and the first UN environmental conference came in the same decade.
LEED Is Born
Large-scale industries were making strides in minimizing their carbon footprint. Together, the U.S. Green Building Council and Natural Resources Defense Council formulated the LEED certification program. LEED v1 launched in 1998. Since then, LEED has gone through three upgrades, with LEED v4 released in 2013. The certification process operates like a scorecard. There are nine categories in which buildings can earn points, including water efficiency, energy & atmosphere and innovation. The more credit earned, the higher the LEED certification, progressing from Certified to Silver to Gold, and ultimately, to Platinum.
The Impact of LEED
Displaying the certification has become a badge of honor, indicating a building’s progressive, sustainable vision. Since its start in 1998, over 5 billion square feet of commercial building space have become involved in the LEED green building certification system. These buildings are proven to provide healthier work and living environments, contributing to higher employee productivity, satisfaction and retention.
An Industry Innovator
The introduction of green building and LEED certification as its validation and reward has revolutionized the industry. LEED has changed how development is approached to incorporate strategic environmental plans for buildings.
Other certification programs have taken note. A new, international program of note is the International WELL Building Institute.
WELL certification has pivoted the focus to improving health and the human experience through design. The Well Community Standard outlines a planned scoring system for buildings to become WELL certified. There are seven categories that buildings can earn points in: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Like LEED, certification is earned on a scorecard. This international concept hopes to create better buildings to help people thrive.
Certification has become a way to enforce positive, progressive behavior in the commercial real estate industry. It provides developments with the ability to showcase the strides they have made to better their sustainability practices. The bottom line here is that buildings are taking a turn towards mindfulness, for the benefit of all.
Irvine Company takes pride to continuously work towards a sustainable workplace for the earth and its inhabitants. We are proud that all of our Chicago buildings hold LEED Platinum Certification.