Thursday, August 17, 2006

Leading the way on LEED

If time is money, then developers just got a way to turn being green into banking some green.

The city council has unanimously approved a plan to expedite the plan-check process for buildings that conform to the “silver” standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines. The program, initiated by Councilmember Jack Weiss and me, will allow LEED-certified buildings to move to the front of the permitting line, saving developers time and money. The LEED standards, created by the US Green Building Council, establish a set of criteria developers can implement when designing their buildings that will make the construction, maintenance, and operation of these structures more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Included in these guidelines are credits for using green power, employing water efficient landscaping, building near public transit, and using recycled materials during construction. Each one makes Los Angeles a cleaner place to live and mitigates the impact that urban building and urban living has on the environment around us.


There are different LEED standards – certified, silver, gold, and platinum – each corresponding to an increasingly high level of environmental efficiency. Los Angeles already require all new municipal facilities to be LEED-certified, and since 2003 forty-six LEED-certified municipal facilities have been built. Today’s action will spur the private sector to join the city as the leader for green building in the country, as we work to make sustainable living in an urban setting a viable option.

According to Global Green , construction and maintenance of buildings are responsible for 40% of energy use and 30% of the wood and raw materials used. Equally taxing on the environment are the large amounts of pollution and waste produced by buildings, which create local pollution, drain natural resources, and accelerate climate change globally. The LEED certification process gives developers and communities alike the chance to alleviate the negative consequences of urban life with well-thought out designs, sustainable products, and emerging technologies. By encouraging the private sector to go green, we can transform both our built and natural environment. LA’s leadership in so many areas of life is known all over the world, and as urban life in the new century continues to transform around us, becoming a LEED city will ensure that we remain part of the solution and not the problem.