So, you are interested in sustainability in the built environment, or green building?
and you want to know more about what all the excitement is about? The biggest impact is coming from LEED®, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a product of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). usgbc.org
LEED is today the grandmother of green building standards in the U.S. and Canada, and gaining acceptance all over the world. By no means a standard developed in a vacuum, LEED utilizes qualifying tools developed by many others, including:
the HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Regrigeration) standards of ASHRAE,
the Portfolio Manager of the EPA's EnergyStar®, and many of the
California and Washington State guidelines for green buildings in construction, remodeling, retrofitting, operations, and maintenance.
A building can become LEED Certified, LEED Silver Certified, LEED Gold Certified, or LEED Platinum Certified.
[PLEASE, try not to say 'LEEDS,' a temptation due to the name of cities, and knowing that multiple requirements must be met?]
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
A person can become credentialed in LEED requirements: an Accredited Professional in the LEED building arena, or a LEED Green Associate, to promote LEED standards in the built environment and community.
As a LEED AP you can focus your expertise on any of a variety of specialties: Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance; New Construction; Commercial Interiors; Homes; Neighborhood Development; Schools, Health and Retail Spaces.
There are some really well-done online introductions, tutorials, and webinars for those who would like to get a taste of the green, without getting too bogged down in all the strict details at the outset. We have listed some fun and interesting links here. Many of the observable applications for LEED criteria carry across various specialty areas, so don't hesitate to enjoy a micro-course on schools, when you are really interested in Commercial Interiors.
You will notice that universities and states as well as the EPA are making educational contributions to these opportunitites for Americans to learn about green building (verb) and green buildings (noun). These resources can be a real asset if you need to check it out when you can't sleep at 2am, or while you're waiting for a flight.
Many of these learning tools are not too deep, but grasp the vocabulary, because in the long run, many words have critically special meaning in this brave new world of Green Standards.
Other Green Standards that you may run into include:
Kansas/Wichita Local Green Building Resources