Building green homes and facilities is supported by more than 15,000 organizations nationwide that are all a part of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC and its members are focused on promoting the construction of structures that are built and operated in environmentally responsible ways, contribute to minimizing operation expenses, and are healthy places to live and work. The USGBC supports the efforts and financial success of the U.S. market's green building products and services through a variety of programs which provide critical resources and education for successful green building projects.
Programs provided by the USGBC include Chapter Programs which allows individual communities to draw on the resources and education of a USGBC chapter in their area; education in the form of courses on green design, construction, and operation; an Emerging Green Builders program that offers education and resources in green building techniques future builders; and perhaps the most influential program is the execution of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
The LEED rating system is one that when adhered to ensures that a facility has been built to the highest standards possible with regard to sustainable buildings. There are five main areas for the LEED rating criteria: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Developed by USGBC, the LEED certification is actually through a third-party who provides the tools and resources necessary for all involved in green facility projects from lending to design to construction to landscape and the owners and operators.
The intention and goal of the LEED rating system is to advance the development and implementation of green building practices on a global scale and offers criteria and resources that can be used in homes, neighborhoods, schools, commercial facilities, and more. It is through the combined efforts of the USGBC, their affiliate programs, and eco-aware developers, owners, and operators that sustainable building practices will continue to succeed in construction projects on every level.